10 Aug 2009

New Zealand based Tongans express grief over ferry disaster at service in Auckland

11:14 am on 10 August 2009

Hundreds of New Zealand based Tongans have expressed their grief at a service in Auckland.

Rowan Quinn was at the service at the Tongan Methodist Church in Mangere

"About 500, mainly Tongan people, from all different religions, packed the church to sing and pray. Some carried photos of friends or relatives caught up in the tragedy, among those missing, Niuean peacekeeper Sisilia Puleheloto and former North Otago rugby representative Sione Aho. But most people who gathered said they just want to support the people of their homeland. The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Georgina Te Heu Heu and Labour leader Phil Goff both told the service that New Zealanders shared in the Tongan people's sadness"