Cyclone Ian leaves NZ family members trembling

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Raukura and Rewi Amoamo sit safely in their Auckland home and watch in horror as Cyclone Ian rips up their homeland in Tonga, affecting many of their family in the process.

“No doubt they're all very sad. It's a very emotional time with all the devastation and loss of their treasures.”

Two Navy patrol boats carrying emergency supplies have left Tongatapu for the Ha'apai Islands.  Raukura says the disaster has had a widespread effect.

“This isn't an issue for Tonga alone. From what I can see, it's an issue that affects all Pacific peoples, many of whom are living here in NZ, and have done so for a long time.”

Emergency authorities have been unable to make telephone contact with 23 islands, which is the majority of the Ha'apai Islands.  Families in NZ are making efforts to help in any way they can.

According to Raukura, “I've donated a bit of money to help them out, along with my siblings."

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, will consider sending further support in the coming days.