4 Mar 2011

NZ High Commission in Tonga overwhelmed with quake support messages

3:01 pm on 4 March 2011

New Zealand's High Commissioner to Tonga says his office has been almost overwhelmed with expressions of support for the people of Christchurch following last week's earthquake.

Jonathan Austin says Tonga's government was one of the first in the Pacific to offer assistance and although the offer wasn't taken up, it's a reminder of the close bond between the two countries as well as the fact that New Zealand is home to many Tongans.

He says people have flocked to the High Commission to pay their respects.

"I have to say it's been sort of almost overwhelmed with expressions of shock, condolence, support, prayers and love from the people of Tonga, starting with His Majesty down, really, and the Tongan public as well, I guess we've had many people coming into the High Commission, passing messages to me, signing our condolence book."

Jonathan Austin says Tongan people have a genuine concern and appreciation for New Zealand and that's been reflected in their comments over the past week.