Island Snapshot


A collection of news-briefs from The Tonga Chronicle, Lao & Hia, Taimi 'o Tonga, Ko e Kele'a, Radio Tonga. For more details of these stories, feel invited to buy a paper from one of the locations mentioned in our Tonga Media pages.

In the Eye of the Storm, A nation in waiting

Cyclone Hina passed by with serious repercussions, and this week-end the Island Kingdom again waits in anticipation as Fiji's Weather Service has announced cyclone warnings for the Niuas with strong winds for the Island Kingdom groups.

Tropical Cyclone Kelly is calculated by the Nandi Weather Service to be 55-65 knots at its center travelling at 10 knots and expected to pass very close to the Niuafo'ou/Niutoputapu group on Saturday morning. Damaging gale force wins with average speeds of 40knots and a peak at about 50 knots, together with heavy rain and very rough to high seas with damaging high swells. A vessel bound for the island group has been recalled, which will effect existing supplies on the islands just at a time it is most likely needed.

Strong winds from the edges of the cyclone are expected to hit the rest of the Tonga island group at between 35 - 50 knots around midday with associated heavy rains and very rough seas. Strong wind warnings have been announced on radio to the Tonga Group.

Radio A3Z has been broadcasting all evening (Friday night) to keep the public informed of the current available information provided from Fiji and local government officials.

Saturday: Reports from Radio operators in the Niuas have indicated that no lives have been lost. Damage to plantations have not been estimated, but it is clear that breadfruit trees and other large trees have been devastated which will effect the food supply. A number of residences have been destroyed by the high winds, and damage caused to public buildings.

Soccer Disputes Resolved ?

FIFA has declared that it will recognize the original Tonga Soccer Committee where Hon. Veikune is President and 'Ahongalu Fusimalohi is Secretary. (related story Island Snapshot 970508) Hopefully this will stabilize the conflicts that have been brewing with the national soccer governing body and teams can again focus on their on field game instead of the off field dramas.

Copra Sales

Ma'ake Faka'osifolau and Warner Island Line have resurrected Copra Sales, once the mainstay of the Tongan economy. Warner Island Line have contracted buyers off-shore for which they are purchasing copra locally.

Initially, Warner Island Line have set up shop at Haveluloto on premises once operated by the Primary Produce Export Ltd, the government corporation closed earlier in the year(related story Island Snapshot 970227). Copra is graded and purchased weekly, at a scheduled buying on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Warner Island Line is also making purchases of copra in Ha'apai, Vava'u and the Niuas on schedules that complements their shipping movements.

Mr Faka'osifolau stated that Warner Island Line entered the copra export industry to help the Kingdom's economic development.

Agriculture is where the money is

Released market reports indicate that vegetables are commanding high, profitable prices at Talamahu Market. Tongan variety of onion is commanding T$10 per kilo, green capsicums at $3.96, carrots $3.64, capsicum $3.50, cucumber $2.02, beans $1.99, pineapple $1.82, and tomatoes $1.80.

Root crops were relatively cheap in comparison, but the high prices and demand for vegetables is indicative of a changing diet with a growing concern for healthier, balanced consumption.

A Humbling experience on the Southern Continent

Tonga's national ruggers, the 'Ikale Tahi, played superbly in their tour of the African continent to take six matches from either. On Wednesday, the team were given a lesson in precision rugby by the formidable South Africa Springboks to the tune of 74-10, a twelve tries to one route.

The Springboks went to a 26-0 lead before fullback Kusitafu Tonga put the ruggers on the scoreboard with a penalty conversion. The Springboks didn't take kindly to the intervention and put a string of tries together to be 33-3 at the half-time break.

Into the second half, the Springboks poured on the power, precision, unrelenting South Africa rugby to take the game to a 64-3 killing. 18 minutes to full-time, the perseverence finally paid off for the national ruggers with a converted try to close the difference to 64-10. The Springboks were not to be denied a routing and turned it on to finish the game at 74-10.

The national ruggers are to fly home to prepare for the World Cup qualifying matches against Fiji in Suva (June 21st), Cook Islands at Teufaiva, Tonga (July 5th). As part of the tri-nations series Tonga will play Samoa in Apia on June 29th. Professional sports is beginning to take up all available time for players and will hopefully compensate them accordingly.

Meanwhile on the home scene High School ruggers have now wittled down to only two undefeated teams ('Apifo'ou College and Tupou College). 'Apifo'ou fought a tight match with current school champions Tupou High School to a heart wrenching 6-5 win, two penalty goals to an unconverted try, while Tupou College easily dismissed of rivals Tonga College. The two remaining undefeated schools are expected to meet next week as the prime time game.

Continuing Saga's from Last we heard:-

Tonga High festivities, the highs and the lows

Dancer Over TOP$400,000 is presumed to have been raised during the festivities, which includes valuation of material gifts not yet sold. The class of '62 put up their fence, the class of '74 raised a flag pole, the PTA opened a new computer studies laboratory, while the Brisbane ex-students put in their proposed Internet connection for the school, although at $780 a month connection charges it is unsure how long the Internet connection will exist.

The ex-students broke ground on a proposed new facility to contain new computer and library facilities.

March The ex-students' executive committee was elected at their AGM and are: President: Mr Vuki Tangitau, vice: Hon. Fielakepa; Secretary: Mr Sinilau Kolokihakaufisi; Asst. Mr. Siaosi Sovaleni (; Treasurer: Ms Mele Kamoto, Asst: Mr Soane Ramanlal.

It is again unfortunate that disgruntled ex-students have gone to print to voice misinformed opinions about how the programs and activities were scheduled. Ex-students are again appearing in print to further 'stir' the discontent between ex-students, parents and current school.

Discontent presented by members of the Ex-Students' Finance Committee can be summarised as,

"Too many non ex-students have been scheduled into the activities of the festivities which belongs to the ex-students.

Secondly, the school should not have gone off on their own fundraising activities including trips to the USA, New Zealand and Australia without the Ex-students' Executive Committee support. Nor should they have retained these funds on their return, but should have handed them to the Ex-students."

Meanwhile, the ex-students are either raising more funds or will dig into the coffers to pay for the over exuberance of their celebrations which includes sizeable (unpaid) expenses.

Ministry of Finance's new budgeting system

Debate continues in parliament over the new, proposed budgeting system with continue apprehensions and confusion over the proposed role the new budget system for government. The budget debate is not yet concerned about the actual budget itself, but the proposed change in legislation to bring into effect the Ministry of Finance's proposed new system.

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