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.”

Tonga appoints new Governor of Ha’apai

The Government said Taufatofua was appointed Governor by King Tupou VI on 28 December 2021.

A family celebration was supposed to be held in January 2022 but was delayed because of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption and tsunami, said the Prime Minister's Office.

Prime Minister, Hu'akavameiluki Siaosi Sovaleni read out the appointment letter while visiting Ha'apai this week.

The Prime Minister was on his first official visit, as leader of Government.

Tonga’s Just Play graduates shine at OFC U-17 Championship 2023

Every single player in the squad came through Just Play, a fact that makes TFA Social Responsibility Manager Raphael Lafaele extremely proud.

“I feel proud and excited,” he said.

“Rugby is our first sport in Tonga. But since Just Play was introduced, boys and girls have been really into the programme.”

Just Play was the way members of the current Tongan U-17 side, along with many others, would have kicked a football for the first time.

Petroleum prices decrease in Tonga

The Tonga Competent Authority announced the decrease in prices are effective from 18 January.

The wholesale price of petrol, kerosene and diesel decreased by 17.41 seniti/litre, 20.79 seniti/litre and 26.64 seniti/litre, respectively.

Consumers on Tongatapu are paying $3.35 per litre for petrol, a decrease from $3.52 per litre.

Kerosene decreased to $2.87 per litre and diesel to $3.76 per litre.


New ePhyto project to enhance Tonga’s agricultural trade and biosecurity

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has rolled out the Generic EPhyto National System (GeNS) in Tonga project which will see a gradual migration over to the digital-based “ePhyto” (short for electronic phytosanitary) certificates which were traditionally paper-based certificates.

Tonga welcomes second cruise ship for 2023

Celebrity Eclipse arrived at Vuna Wharf in Nuku'alofa on Monday morning.

There are 2651 passengers and 1165 crew onboard.

Deputy Prime Minister, Samiu Vaipulu and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism. Fekita 'Utoikamanu went onboard, where a plaque ceremony was held to mark the ship’s maiden voyage to Tonga.

The Paul Gauguin was the first cruise ship to visit Tonga, arriving in Neiafu, Vavau, on 16 January.

Provisional results show Johnny Taione wins Tonga by-election

The first runner up is Viliami Sisifā while the third is the PTOA (Democrats) candidate Sosefo Ngavisi Hēhea.

Candidate Sipaisi Kutu is in fourth place reports Kaniva News.

There were four candidates contesting the vacant seat.

Tongatapu 8 voters went to the polls Friday morning to elect a candidate to replace their former PTOA MP, the late Sēmisi Fakahau.

Tongatapu 8 is regarded as a PTOA stronghold.

Ground breaking ceremony for $60 million sports complex in Tonga

Chief Guest and Prime Minister, Hu'akavameiliku thanked the Chinese government for their support.

"Having this facility of international standard will not only be beneficial to THS but to sports in general here in the Kingdom," he said at the event yesterday.

The Chinese Ambassador, Wang Baodang, said they were proud to be supporting a sporting nation like Tonga.

"Tonga is a nation of sport lovers," he said.

A statement said Chinese contractors arrived in Tonga three months ago to prepare for the construction of the $60 million plus sports complex.