Tonga

New role brings Tongan footballer Meleseini Tufui full circle

The 21-year-old has been a regular fixture on the regional scene since making her debut for Tonga at the 2014 OFC U-20 Women’s Championship, in the starting line-up of a 3-1 loss to New Zealand.

The experience was an eye-opener for the then 14-year-old, who went on to add three further youth tournament appearances, before becoming a dual international in 2017 when she represented Tonga at the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament.

Tonga sports body awaits Tokyo Olympics confirmation

TASANOC Secretary General Takitoa Taumoepeau said several sports had their qualifying events cancelled.

So far, only the International Federation for Swimming has approved two universality places for Tonga, for one female and one male swimmer.

“The Tonga Swimming Federation will name and confirm the two swimmers in the coming weeks,” said Takitoa.

Depending on the confirmation of Universality Places for the other sports, Takitoa said Team Tonga is looking at around 8-9 Athletes with 12 Officials.

July schedule confirmed for Pacific rugby nations

The Flying Fijians will now play two tests against the All Blacks on 10 and 17 July after their home series against Ireland was cancelled because of Covid-19.

Fiji have played New Zealand nine previous occasions, including five tests, the last of which was a 60-14 defeat in Dunedin a decade ago.

As previously confirmed by RNZ Pacific, the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier between Samoa and Tonga will be played in New Zealand over two legs.

36 earthquakes recorded in Tonga in April

The most severe quake measured 6.5 on the Richter Scale and struck on 24 April about 223km WNW of Pangai.

A second strong one of magnitude 6.4 was reported on 26 April about 199km WSW of Nuku’alofa.

According to Tonga Geological Services monthly report, the earthquakes were not significant in that they did not produce damage or generate tsunami waves.

The area surrounding the island nation of Tonga is very geographically active.

     

Australia and Tonga sign letters stipulating disbursement of AUD7 million COVID-19 package

This funding comes in support of Tonga’s Social and Economic Stimulus Package (Phase 3).

AUD2 million has been earmarked for social protection payments: to poor households, to the elderly and disabled, expanding social care-takers services, and community policing.

The remaining AUD5 million will be for continued support to businesses and employees who have been affected by the global outbreak of COVID-19, in support of Tonga’s COVID-19 Business Recovery Program.

Government put on stage by King Tupou VI, people advised to select their representatives well

After welcoming and acknowledging the Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua, the Prime Minister Dr Rev Pohiva Tuionetoa and the Members of Parliament, His Majesty slammed the government and the House's "usual" practise of responding to His address without doing anything about it.

"It is unsatisfactory how this House does not make an effort after the promises and responses to Parliament’s Opening Ceremony each year," His Majesty said.

Tonga patrol boat crew host Australian PM Morrison

The patrol boat is currently undergoing maintenance at the HMAS Cairns navy base.

According to the Australian High Commission in Tonga, PM Morrison was in Cairns to announce a $155 million upgrade to the Navy Base, HMAS Cairns.

“The upgrade will enable HMAS Cairns to be the maintenance hub for all of the Guardian-class Patrol Boats throughout the Pacific, supporting Australia’s future vessels.”

The crew of VOEA Ngahau Koula will sail home in the coming week after a period of training.

Killing of humanitarian in Tonga shocks wider community

Polikalepo Kefu was known for his work with Tonga's Red Cross, the local media association, and as a voice for youth.

He was also president of the local LGBTQI+ rights group who want to make sure his death is not brushed under the carpet.

Polikalepo Kefu, or Poli, was well recognised for his tireless devotion to a wide range of human rights causes.

The Red Cross described him as a shining star in the Pacific, and globally, who will be remembered and cherished for his dedication to equality for all.

Over 10,000 receive COVID-19 vaccine in Tonga

On average 760 people are being vaccinated daily and 39% of the vaccination batch (28,000 doses) has been used with zero wastage reported.

The Ministry has 10 teams working on the vaccine rollout.

There are 5 larger teams of 14-16 staff and 4 small teams (3 mobile teams and 1 stationed at Vaiola NCD centre).

A total of 150 staff are dedicated to the national vaccination rollout

According to the Ministry, 11,958 people have been registered to date.

 

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Tonga Police arrest 7 for possession of illicit drugs

The arrests between 19 and 30 of April 2021 are part of an ongoing operation targeting drug dealers and suppliers.

The arrests were made at six different locations in Tongatapu.

Police also seized 8.80 grams of methamphetamine, 199.11 grams of cannabis and drug utensils.

The seven accused between the aged of 26 to 40 will appear at the Magistrate Court at a later date.

Deputy Commissioner Tevita Vailea said that Police are committed to disrupt and detect the supply of drugs and hold those responsible to account.