Tonga’s Royal Trade show to return after 3 years

The break was due to the Covid-19 and the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai volcano and subsequent tsunamis.

A statement said this year’s theme will be 'Recovering from Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai'.

Ministry of Agriculture’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Viliami Manu said, “It will showcase the hard work of farmers, fishermen tradesmen and local businesses, and also recognize and award them for their hard work and resilience of overcoming what has been a tough couple years, after the natural disasters.”

Tonga's only domestic airline secures overseas help

At a media conference, Tonga's Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni announced Australia would provide technical and financial support for the airline.

Hu'akavameiliku also rebutted media criticism of Lulutai management.

He said management acted quickly when finding out the aircraft was in a state of disrepair.

"When the report came out, it was something we need to address on the plane, it was sent to the manufacturer, and they said the next day to ground the plane, we ground the plane.

Key partnership areas discussed during visit of Australia’s Head of the Office of the Pacific to Tonga

During his visit, McDonald had the honour to meet with key partners including Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, Hu’akavameiliku, Prime Minister of Tonga, Samiu Vaipulu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Tourism, Tiofilusi Tiueti, Minister for Finance, and Lord Speaker, Lord Fakafanua.

Australia supports Tonga’s domestic connectivity with Lulutai

Australia will provide financial assurances for Lulutai to partner with Fiji Airways to operate up to seven flights a week between Vava’u and Tongatapu during the month of February.

The Australian Government plans to continue these arrangements for this critical connectivity until

at least 30 June 2023, while Lulutai’s fleet undergoes maintenance.

Last week Australia and Tonga worked quickly on a similar arrangement which enabled the restoration of flights between Tongatapu and Vava’u on 30 January.

Tonga to introduce Market Development Facility

The Australian state-funded economic initiative states its mission is to boost local employment and income opportunities.

A statement said the facility will be established with an estimated value of activities worth around AU$3.8 million in its initial four-year phase.

The Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Viliami Uasike Latu and Australia's High Commissioner, Rachael Moore signed a subsidiary arrangement for MDF, on 30 January 2023 in Nuku'alofa.

The program is also confirmed to start recruiting local staff.

Kingdom joins economic initiative

The Australian state-funded economic initiative states its mission is to boost local employment and income opportunities.

Tonga's Minister for Trade Viliami Latu signed the agreement with Australia's High Commissioner to Tonga, Rachael Moore, on Wednesday in Nuku'alofa.

The respective countries said that over $US2 million in investment would be channelled to the Kingdom over the next four years.

Implemented in 2011, Australia's Market Development Facility is active in Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, PNG, Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu.


Pacific Mental Health Surveys project on mental health challenges in Pacific countries to launch soon

A new research project by Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland researchers and Pacific partners aims to investigate mental health challenges in Samoa, Tuvalu, and potentially Tonga as these countries navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

Stranded Passengers from Tonga Spend Two Nights at Church in Christchurch

NZ971 was operating from Tonga's Fuaʻamotu International Airport (TBU) on January 27, headed for Auckland International Airport (AKL). As extensive flooding and damage paused operations at New Zealand's largest airport, the aircraft made an unexpected detour to Christchurch International Airport (CHC).

Fiji airline to provide services to Vava’u as Tonga Government works on Lulutai Airways aircraft safety

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku confirmed this in a press conference with members of the media at the St George Building in Nuku’alofa on Monday.

A Government statement said this follows the withdrawal of the domestic airline’s 34 seat Saab 340 aircraft for urgent repairs.

“Government is focused on providing safe services for all passengers who choose to fly with Lulutai and has decided to pull the aircraft off service so that repairs and maintenance work can be done urgently,” Hu’akavameiliku said.

Over 60 new Covid-19 cases in Tonga

The Ministry of Health confirmed the cases were discovered from the 1500-1700 Covid-19 weekly tests.

The ministry said, “The Covid-19 variants in Tonga are BA2 and BA5 and there have only been mild cases reported in Tonga over the past two-weeks.”

Minister of Health, Dr Saia Piukala said, “There are no serious cases and the Covid-19 status remains the same for Tonga with no changes.”

“Tonga remains on the green level for Covid which is very satisfactory.”