Tonga holds memorial services, national exhibition for tsunami and volcanic eruption anniversary

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, with Christian churches around Tonga, will host memorial and thanksgiving services in their own churches on Sunday.

A national exhibition will also be held from tomorrow at Queen Salote Memorial Hall in Nuku’alofa.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Tourism and the Tonga Tourism Authority have partnered to mount the exhibition on the Hunga Tonga - Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The exhibition will be held until Saturday, 14 January.

Tonga authorities treat church minister’s car fire as arson

The vehicle was allegedly set on fire during the early hours of Sunday, 1 January.

Neiafu Town officer Vava Lapota said the incident happened at around 3am while the car was left unattended on a road from Holonga to Ta’anea.

Kaniva News reports the car belongs to a Pentecost Church pastor.

It broke down before the pastor and his family sought help from a nearby village, Lapota said.

When they arrived back at the scene with a helper the car had been torched and destroyed.

Lightning in the ‘cataclysmic’ Tonga volcano eruption shattered ‘all records’

Not only did it trigger widespread tsunami waves, but it also belched an enormous amount of climate-warming water vapor into the Earth’s stratosphere.

Now researchers in a new report have unveiled something else: the eruption set off more than 25,500 lightning events in just five minutes. Over the course of just six hours, the volcano triggered nearly 400,000 lightning events. Half of all the lightning in the world was concentrated around this volcano at the eruption’s peak.

Tonga welcomes the ‘Back to the Islands Campaign’ winners

The ‘Back to the Islands Campaign’ is a Pacific provider initiative that aimed to appeal to Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand to get vaccinated (either flu or Covid-19) and protected to be able to fly home.

“Back to the Islands Campaign” provided the opportunity for those getting vaccinated at participating vaccination events to enter a draw to win travel prizes for the Pacific Islands and abroad.

The Campaign ran from 6 August and closed on 16 September, 2022 with the prize being drawn in late October.

Disabled face discrimination in Tonga according to survey

The survey conducted by Australia's Aid Programme and Tonga's Ministry of Education stated that disabled people in Tonga faced social stigma.

"People with disability are one of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in Tongan society. They often face stigma, exclusion and discrimination, and lack voice and influence over community and national resources," according to the report.

It outlined various testimonies including discrimination in employment and education.

Tonga PM receives T$1 million in donations in response to calls for assistance after Jan 2022 disasters

The PM’s Press Office said the funds were raised in response to calls for assistance following the January 15, 2022 volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.

The funds were raised by the Tonga High Commission, Tonga Consul General’s Office, and Pilie-tauhala Tongan Community Committees around Australia, with donations from businesses, schools, hospitals, companies, rugby clubs, kava clubs, individuals, states, mayors, and local governments such as the ACT government, Northern Territory government and the Liverpool Council.

Tonga appoints new Reserve Bank Governor

The appointment was made on 20 December following an open recruitment process and recommendations by Tiofilusi Tiueti, Minister of Finance in consultation with the Board of the Reserve Bank.

A Reserve Bank statement said Moeaki has had a civil service distinguished career in finance and economic development and a former Director of the National Reserve Bank Board between 2013 and 2016 when he was the chief economic adviser to the Government and the CEO for the Ministry of Finance.

Heavy rain, flash flood and strong wind warning for parts of Tonga

The Fua'amotu Weather Forecasting Centre said these conditions will affect the islands next week.

There is a heavy rain warning and flash flood advisory for Vava’u land areas and remain inforce for Ha’apai, Tongatapu and ‘Eua land areas.

A strong wind warning remains inforce for Tongatapu and ‘Eua land areas.


Photo Fua'amotu Weather Forecasting Centre 


Tonga government shuts down rumours of Covid lockdown

‘If there was such plan the Ministry will hold a press conference to announce it,’Minster of Health, Saia Piukala reportedly said this morning.

Late last night Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku said on Twitter” Tonga is not going into lockdown this weekend or next week. Certainly looking forward to getting back to Tonga next week and attending uike lotu.”

According to Kaniva News, It appears the rumours stemmed from a report by TBC’s Radio & Television Tonga this week which was meant to highlight their top stories of the year 2022 starting from January.

Sunergise launches 6-MW solar farm in Tonga, largest in South Pacific

The project involved the installation of three interconnected, ground-mounted solar arrays in western Tongatapu – the country’s main island. Each has a capacity of 2.3 MWp and was built with the help of local civil, mechanical and electrical sub-contractors. It is backed by a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Sunergise New Zealand Ltd and Tonga Power Ltd.

The completion of the project was first delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and then the eruption of a submarine volcano in the Tongan archipelago that caused tsunamis.