31 Aug 2009

Telethon raises thousands for families of ferry disaster

1:07 pm on 31 August 2009

A telethon event has raised about $10,000 to help families of the victims of the recent Tongan ferry disaster.

The two-hour programme, Tonga 'Ofa Kihe Vahanoa, screened on Sunday night on Auckland's Triangle Stratos television station and featured performances by local Tongan groups and speakers from the Tongan community.

It was backed by Pasifika Broadcasting, Kele'a newspaper, Pacific Media Network and the New Zealand Tongan Society for Political Reform in Tonga.

Event organiser Setita Millar says all proceeds from the event will go to the families of the victims.

She says it's hoped a further $10,000 can be raised at a concert to be held on Friday in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga.

The Princess Ashika sank on 5 August, about 90km northwest of the capital Nuku'alofa.

Fifty-four people survived the tragedy, 72 are unaccounted for and two bodies have been recovered.