16 Sep 2010

Tongan PM launches Christchurch earthquake appeal

5:44 pm on 16 September 2010

The Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Feleti Sevele, has launched an appeal fund to raise money for the people of Christchurch following the 7.1 scale earthquake nearly two weeks ago.

The Prime Minister's spokesman, Lopeti Senituli, says there are more than a thousand Tongans living in the Canterbury region and Dr Sevele wanted to extend moral support to New Zealand.

"The government and the people of New Zealand are always amongst the first to come through in terms of offering assistance to the people of Tonga in our time of need, and he felt that it's only appropriate that the Tongan public should give generously to this appeal fund."

Lopeti Senituli says the nationwide fundraising campaign has just started and the money collected will be handed over to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Commission by the first week of October.

He says reconstruction from the tsunami that struck Tonga following an 8.0 earthquake killing nine people last September is taking final shape now thanks to the government of New Zealand.