Two radio-thons held in Tonga over the past week have raised almost $600,000 for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Fund.

As of this morning, 887,055.98 Tongan pa'anga (NZD$571,041.57) have been raised from two fundraising events broadcast across the entire island kingdom, one on Saturday and another yesterday.

Lopeti Senituli, the political advisor to the Prime Minister and member of the event committee, expected the total to increase further.

"We still have a couple of outstanding pledges and we are confident we will surpass the $890,000 mark," he said.

Mr Senituli said the fundraising came about after the Tongan Government received a number of enquiries from the public asking where they could send their donations.

The second radio-thon was the result of demands from the public who said they did not have enough time to organise their donations.

"The prevalent public attitude here is that the people and government of New Zealand are usually the first on Tonga's doorstep soon after a natural disaster and here was an opportunity for us to reciprocate that generosity," he said.

"On top of that, Tonga is the beneficiary of a benevolent New Zealand aid budget as well as employment and education opportunities, and there are of course 60,000 Tongans who have made New Zealand their home."

The population of the Kingdom of Tonga is only 101,991 (2006 census) and the country's gross domestic product is NZ$335m. The fundraising effort is the equivalent of the entire population donating around $5.60 each.

Following the 7.1 Canterbury earthquake on September 4, Tonga's Prime Minister Dr Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele launched an appeal fund.

"The Government and the people of New Zealand are always amongst the first to come to our assistance in our time of need so I urge the people of Tonga to give generously to this appeal fund," he said. "I also appeal for the Tongan public's moral support and prayers for the people of Christchurch."

The Tonga-NZ Business Council is also planning to donate a container-load of Tongan watermelons to the people of Christchurch.