8 Dec 2014

Tonga's Niuas to set up own shipping service

6:55 am on 8 December 2014

A shipping service, owned and operated by the local community, is set to be launched next year in Tonga's far northern Niua island group.

Tonga MP Sitiveni Halapua

Tonga MP Sitiveni Halapua Photo: Supplied

The idea of academic and politician, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, it aims to provide shipping in the remote islands without a reliance on the national government or aid donors.

Dr Halapua says he wants to empower the outer island communities and help to foster an economic rejuvenation.

"My idea is to have some kind of a community democracy where the community is mainly responsible for the development and access to their own well being, rather than being entirely dependent on the government and foreign aid."

Sitiveni Halapua says a mostly wind-powered vessel is being built in New Zealand and is funded by the Niua community and the Tongan diaspora.

Dr Halapua, who was an MP in the previous parliament, did not stand in the poll last month.