24 October 2019
Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: MP for Ha‘apai 13, Veivosa Light of Life Taka has led a delegation from Foa in the Ha‘apai Island Group to meet with the diaspora to seek closer bilateral ties with the Brisbane Tongan Community, in particular Foa islanders or those with family connections to Foa.
Accompanying Veivosa Taka were five town officers from Foa Island, namely Viliami Tukutau from the village of Lotofoa, Vaea Ta‘ufo‘ou from Faleloa, Sione Palu from Ha‘afakahenga, Pōtāufa Talakai from Ha‘ateiho si‘i and Filimone Kalū from Fangale‘ounga.
What might be rubbish to you here in Australia, might be invaluable to us in Ha‘apai,” stated MP Ha‘apai 13, Veivosa Taka when making references to second hand materials that may be shipped to Foa to assist with development.
MP Veivosa Taka explained the developmental projects for Foa’s continued viability and are forming Foa committees in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Brisbane to trade and channel support from the offshore diaspora directly to the local town officers on the ground in Foa.
A welcome dinner was facilitated by some local Foa islanders residing in Brisbane on Tuesday evening, before the broader Foa community met for a community engagement forum at the Tongan Uniting Church at Highgate Hill on Wednesday night.
Brisbane Tongan Community member, Mrs Lesini Vakalahi, who is originally from Foa, expressed her wholehearted joy at reconnecting with her childhood home, but also the strategic framework MP Veivosa Taka and his team had presented to the diaspora to increase trade development and sustainability back in Foa.
“Growing up we used to enjoy inter-village rivalry on Foa, but it’s so significant to see the Town Officers of each village on Foa unite and work together for a common cause,” Lesini said.
A local Brisbane Foa working committee was elected and endorsed by the delegation, including ‘Ilai Malaloi (Patron); Kesomi Fatani Tavake (Chair); Soakai Afeaki (Co-chair); Teise Senituli (Secretary); Kapiolani Tapu‘osi (Assistant Secretary); Vaofatai Afu (Treasurer); Lavinia ‘Aholelei (Assistant Treasurer); Sulieni Layt (Media Liaison); Meita Fatani Tavake (Member); Mele Siutu (Member); Toakase Layt (Member); Liukava Tapu‘osi (Member) and 'Ofa Fainga'anuku (Member).
The Ha‘apai delegation departed Brisbane on Thursday morning outbound for Melbourne before returning to the Kingdom of Tonga via New Zealand next week.
Media Contact: Sulieni Layt via email on email@example.com or mobile on +61(0) 420 639 764.