$1.1m for Tonga hostel, hall

The Tongan community in Suva has raised $1.1 million (US$540,000) to build a hostel and multi-purpose hall for students and Tongans in Fiji.

The money was collected through fundraising activities which started at the end of 2015 in Tonga and in the US.

Fiji Times reports construction work will be on its land located on Laucala Bay Rd, opposite the University of the South Pacific (USP).

It is known to Tongans as Apitonga, which means "home for Tongans".

Suva Tongan church steward Kisione Finau said they decided to construct a new building because the current one was really old.

"The construction work is expected to start in October this year. We planned to have another fundraising programme in Australia to meet our budget, which is $1.7m (US$835,000)," he said.

Finau said plans were in the pipeline to build a double-storey building with about 40 rooms to cater for the students studying in Fiji.

He said Apitonga accommodated 15 private students, Tongans visiting Suva for US visa application and for medical reasons, including dialysis treatment.

The Tongan community in Suva bought the land in 2008 for $260,000 and it is registered under the Suva Tongan Church.


Phot file Fiji TV. Caption: Apitonga, Suva