Rotorua's Tongan community is preparing a second container of supplies to help the Cyclone Gita recovery effort.

When the Category 4 cyclone hit last week it was the fiercest storm in the Pacific Island nation's recorded history.

The eye of the storm tore through the main island, Tongatapu.

Winds of up to 260km/h destroyed buildings, toppled trees, cut power and water connections and flooded the low-lying islands with large sea swells.


On Saturday night Rotorua Vai Ko Latai Support, a large group of descendants from the village of Fua'amotu, decided to fundraise and collect donations to ship a container to the village.

Vai Ko Latai Support is a subgroup of a wider organisation, Rotorua Tongan Community.

Rotorua Tongan Community is now organising a second container of supplies to be distributed across Tonga.

Rotorua Tongan Community representative to the Pacific Islands Charitable Trust, Ana Paletu'a, said the second container would need food supplies with a long shelf life, water, clothing and bedding such as blankets and sleeping bags.

"When the roofs flew off all the contents of the houses were affected. Gita has also done a lot of damage to the plantations, it has destroyed all the crops."

She said potential donors could contact the group and they would pick up the items, or donors could drop them to the Pacific Islands Development Trust building at Sunset Primary School.

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Paletu'a said friends and colleagues here had been very supportive and understanding since the storm first hit last week.

She comes from the village of Isileli near the Tongan capital, Nuku'alofa.

Paletu'a said Isileli suffered major damage and the roof of her house there was blown off.

Her sister gave birth the morning after Cyclone Gita arrived at night.

"She was escorted to hospital by the army, but she and her baby girl are at home now," Paletu'a said.

Paletu'a and her brother have managed to send items and money to get her sister and child "on their feet".

She said the Rotorua Tongan Community group was acting on the words of the King of Tonga, Tupou VI, when he first addressed the nation after the storm last week.

"He said Gita uplifted physical and social barriers between us and left love. If there is a time for Tonga to work together it is now."

Rotorua Tongan Community organiser Mata Mafile'o comes from the village of Fanga, where the damage is not as serious as at nearby villages.

"Roofs are missing but no houses have been destroyed."

Rotorua Vai Ko Latai Support, a subgroup that is sending a separate container, has had a "good" response to its efforts so far.

President Paea Napa'a said they would continue to take donations of food, shelter and chainsaws or lawnmowers every day from 5pm to 8pm, at Room 5 at 4 Thomas Cres.

On Saturday the room will be manned for donations from 10am to 5pm instead.

Contacts for Rotorua Tongan Community container collections/dropoffs:

Mata Mafile'o
027 5245 174

Ana Paletu'a
022 6535 232