Update on Community relief efforts for Cyclone stricken Fiji & Vava’u

Families in cyclone stricken Vava’u Island in Tonga will soon be seeing food aid from their families and friends in New Zealand.

Three 20-foot containers are being packed by members of the Vava’u Relief Committee with non-perishable food and other essentials for Vava’u in Tonga this weekend at the Lotofale’ia Tongan Methodist Church in Mangere.

Vava’u Relief Committee chair, Jenny Salesa  says that Vava’u was expected to experience food shortage 3 – 4 weeks following cyclone Winston which destroyed up to 85 percent of the island’s crops.

“And we’re at that point now so this shipment will be timely and will be well received”

Mrs Salesa says that the three containers will ship a range of non-perishable food such as flour, rice, sugar, tinned fish/meat, cooking oils and other essentials and her committee will be asking the Tongan government to waive tax and duty.

She acknowledged the assistance her committee received from former All Black Michael Jones who is the agent for Matson Shipping which donated 3 containers free of shipping costs from Auckland to Vava’u valued at around $14,000.

She also says the voluntary committee thanks Ultimate Transport for  providing free transportation valued at around $3000 to truck the containers from Matson to the church in Mangere then back to dockside in Auckland,” says Jenny Salesa,

Jenny Salesa is also a member of the Mayoral Committee for Disaster in the Pacific and chaired by Fijian leader John Kotoisuva “Matson has been instrumental in providing six containers free of shipping costs to take family and general supplies up to the people Fiji.  In addition, Matson are offering a huge discount on additional container shipping costs for the Fiji community.  Free transportation of these 6 containers were provided by Ultimate Transport and Nexus Logistics” says John Kotoisuva.

“Recently, Mainfreight has also generously offered us containers for Fiji relief at no cost.

“Damage to Fiji has been very widespread and extensive, with tragic loss of 43 lives. People will be suffering the severe consequences of Winston for quite some time and it will take several years to rebuild in Fiji.

“The Fiji Taskforce has already sent four containers to Fiji. Two will leave soon and we hope to fill two more in the near future” says John Kotoisuva.

Relief for Vava’u

Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off for families in Vava’u to the Lotofale’ia Methodist Church at 34 Orly Avenue, Mangere.

“I acknowledge and thank the Ministers and congregations of the Tongan Methodist Churches in New Zealand, who have taken up the challenge of supporting and collecting food donations for Vava’u families without relatives in Auckland.

Food items for Vava’u must have a shelf life of at least April 2017. Supplies requested are:

  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Cooking oil
  • Canned goods, especially tinned fish and meat
  • Sugar
  • Cabin bread
  • Cash and clothing will not be accepted

Relief for Fiji

Items of non-perishable food and household items at the City Impact Church, 385 Mount Wellington Highway, Mount Wellington, Auckland.

Members of the public are welcome to donate selected items for affected villages.  Goods for Fiji must have a long shelf life. Supplies requested include:

  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Cooking oil
  • Canned goods, especially fish and meat
  • Sugar
  • Cabin bread
  • Fishing gear
  • Gardening tools
  • Linen & Toiletries
  • Mosquito net and repellent
  • Water purification tablets
  • Cash and clothing will not be accepted

John Kotoisuva says, “We are very grateful to the community for its fantastic response to date. We are still seeking donations since we hope to fill two more containers.

“Anyone who can spare even a couple of cans of food, that would be tremendously welcome. Every little bit helps – small drops make an ocean.”

  • Contact for Fiji: John Kotoisuva, 021 288 8241
  • Contact for Tonga: Jenny Salesa, jennysalesa@gmail.com, 021 528 281




  • John Kotoisuva is the Chair of the Mayoral Committee for Disaster in the Pacific and a leader of the Fijian community. Jenny Salesa is the Tongan representative on the same Mayoral Committee and Chair of the Vava’u Relief Committee. Both are leading the coordination of relief efforts following the impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston.
  • Update on damage in Fiji
  • Some remote and inaccessible areas have not yet received any assistance
  • 19,649 people were housed at 619 centres as of 8 March
  • Around 120,000 people still need assistance with shelter
  • Clean water supply and disease control efforts are underway
  • Estimated total cost of the damage is FJD348.3 million (over NZD 248m)
  • The most affected area is the agricultural sector (excluding sugar crops) –29% of total damage at an estimate of FJD102.2 million (over NZD 72m)
  • Major international relief efforts are also underway
  • Update on damage in Tonga:
  • As much as 85% of all crops have been destroyed in Vava’u
  • Agricultural damage is estimated at TOP$ 13,355,573 million (nearly NZD 9m)
  • 233 buildings that have been destroyed or suffered significant damage – mostly residential houses with some schools and community halls estimated at TOP$ 2,015,278 (approx. NZD 1.3m).

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