27 Dec 2013

Big orders coming in for Tonga ngatu

7:21 am on 27 December 2013

The leader of a Tonga community group making ngatu or tapa products for sale says China and Hawaii have both placed big orders.

Women in Ha'atafu village on the main islands Tongatapu have been making nagtu and selling them to relatives.

The group leader Melesila Lutolofi Weilert says they are thrilled to have secured commercial contracts.

But she says nagtu making is very intensive in terms of time and materials and the challenge is to encourage the women to diversify their handicrafts.

Tapa making is great. But with one ngatu we can only sell it for 250 but if we have the handicraft and arts made out of tapa, in a small piece of I will say one foot by one and a half foot, it can give us about 35 pa'anga.

Melesila Lutolofi Weilert says the women love making ngatu and just need time to get used to using it for different purposes.