Tonga eruption: Tauranga pacific community rallies

The Pacific Island Community Trust team with Calvin 'Mitch' Mitchell, Zita from Ngā Mataapuna Oranga and Te Manu Toroa, Tonga Minister Rev'd Tu'inamoana Latu, and his wife, Lelini latu. Supplied Images.

Tauranga's Pacific Island Community are banding together to aid the relief in Tonga following the eruption that took place on January 15, 2022. 

An initiative is being organised to provide 24 hour rapid response packs that can sustain a person for up to 24 hours and requires little to no cooking or utensils.

The goods are non-perishable and contain a large storage life. 

Tongan Minister Rev'd Tu'inamoana Latu attended to karakia over the container and its contents this morning, for the safe voyage directly to Tonga. 

The relief has been organised by the Pacific Island Community Trust, and has been funded through donations by other community groups.

Some of the Pacific Island Community Trust team. 

One of the groups is Nga Mataapuna Oranga and Te Manu Toroa, who are currently working together on welfare support for Covid-19.

They are supporting the community through providing kai to those who are isolating at home and may not be able to access food. 

Calvin ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, a Kaiārahi with the Whānau Ora team from Ngā Maatapuna Oranga, says the packs have been methodically thought through, and have had consideration applied to each packs’ nutritional value.

Mitch is a former combat soldier who has been deployed twice in conflict zones around the world with the New Zealand Army, as well as providing relief after the Christchurch earthquake of 2011.

Mitch says the packs have a similar design of those found in the defence force, but these are infused with the aroha/love and wairua/spirit of the Whānau Ora team at Ngā Maatapuna Oranga.

“I wish I had these packs when I was in theatres of conflict to raise my morale,” says Mitch.

Kaimahi from Pacific Island Community Trust.

Zita, a manager at Te Manu Toroa says that working in collaboration with Ngā Maatapuna Oranga has not only been able to help the Pacifica community, but also strengthened relationships in the wider community.

“We are happy to help our whānau in Tonga and support our Pacific whānau here in Tauranga,” says Zita.

The Pacific Island Community Trust would like to thank all of those who have helped support this kaupapa, namely Quadrant Shipping and Swire Shipping, as well as Clayton Hamilton who made it possible to access the shipping container.

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