Tongan ferry remains in New Zealand waters due to biosecurity concerns

The ‘Otuanga’ofa arrived in Auckland in September 2022 and was expected to return to the kingdom last October.

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries told Kaniva News the ferry was ordered back to sea for being “non-compliant with New Zealand’s biosecurity regulations.”

The Ministry said the vessel was allowed back into port to collect provisions.

However, even though the ferry was ordered to leave port to be cleaned, there was a delay because vital equipment was not working.

Tonga’s new early warning system now extends to every motu of the kingdom

To help with early warning, the Tongan government received assistance from Japan to help improve the speed and stability of information transmission in the event of a disaster. 

Tagata Pasifika reports the population is spread over many islands mostly in low-lying coastal areas, where response efforts are often difficult.

Japan offered US$26m to establish a Wireless Communication System called the Nationwide Early Warning System (NEWS).

Tonga PM arrives in Fiji for Forum Leaders Special Retreat

Hu'akavameiliku is accompanied by the Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet, Paula Ma'u.

The delegation was met by Fiji’s Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo at Nadi International Airport.

Hu'akavameiliku will join Forum Leaders at the Sheraton Resort in Denarau for their Special Retreat on Friday.

At a press briefing in Nuku’alofa last week, Hu'akavameiliku said he will recommend to the Forum Leaders that they push for visa exemptions for Pacific Island Leaders and officials with both New Zealand and Australia.

Petrol prices increase in Tonga

The Tonga Competent Authority announced that the new prices have been made effective from 20 February.

“The wholesale for petrol and kerosene prices will increase by 12.97 seniti/litre, 3.14 seniti/litre respectively.”

“Meanwhile, Diesel prices have dropped by 1.54 seniti/litre.”

“All price changes include consumption tax.”

The authority said the price change is based on the January 2023 average of published daily Mean of Platts Singapore benchmark prices, freight and exchange rate.

Honey bees helping food security in Tonga

“Bees are very important in terms of pollination particularly the types of crops that we grow and export here in Tonga, which is squash and the watermelon both of those crops need to be pollinated by bees,” says Debra Allan, a beekeeper on the main island, Tongatapu.

Tagata Pasifika reports OhaiTonga is an NGO based on the main island of Tonga. 

They created a buzz in 2020 when locals were trained as beekeepers, part of the plan to ensure the island kingdom bounces back quickly after natural disasters like cyclones which impacts severely on the insect population.

Drop in Covid-19 cases in Tonga

The Ministry of Health recorded only four cases last week compared to 45 that were recorded in the previous week.

The MOH confirmed the four cases were recorded from the total of 910 plus tests carried out for the whole one week period.


Tonga to take recommendations to Forum Leaders

He made the statement at Friday afternoon's joint Press Conference with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna.

Hu'akavameiliku said he will recommend to the Forum Leaders that they push for visa exemptions for Pacific Island Leaders and officials with both New Zealand and Australia.

And that Pacific Island students in both countries be allowed to pay a special Pacific Islands Students fees, instead of international fees currently being charged for Pasifika students going to study in the two countries.

Tonga Police recover stolen car, parts stripped off

Police said the white Toyota Wish Car C37740 was found with the parts already dismantled.

Its various parts were located and seized by Police on Monday, from two different houses, one at Vainī and the other at Holonga.

An official from the Ministry of Infrastructure has confirmed the engine number to be that of the stolen car.

The car was allegedly stolen from outside the ANZ Bank when the driver stepped out to use the ATM.

Magistrate Salesi Mafi has ordered that the suspect be kept in Police remand until Monday, 20 February 2023.

Tonga in High-Level Ministerial Dialogue with Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fekita 'Utoikamanu led the Tongan team at the roundtable discussion and the team included the Minister for Internal Affairs, Lord Vaea, Tiofilusi Tiueti - Minister of Finance and Dr Viliami Latu - Minister of Trade and Economic Development.

While welcoming Secretary General Puna, 'Utoikamanu said the meeting was timely and critical for both Tonga and the region.

She said Tonga was committed to its regional commitments and was happy to be in discussion on issues of importance for the country and the region.

Tonga Police arrest four over drug-related offences

The first raid was on the evening of Thursday, 9 February 2023 at a residence at Malapo where two male persons, aged 31 and 36 were arrested together with 3.06 grams of methamphetamine, one .22 rifle with a magazine containing ten . 22 live bullets, cash TOP$478.50, and drug utensils.

The second and third raids were made at Hala’ovave on Friday, 10 February 2023, with the second made at a residence while the third was effected on the Sūnia ‘Akaveka Road.