Tonga hopes to raise $1m for quake appeal

8:43 pm on 29 September 2010

The organisers of a Christchurch earthquake appeal fund in Tonga hope to raise $1 million by the end of a radiothon on Thursday.

Chamber of Commerce president Paula Taumoepeau says that while his country is poor, this event gives people a chance to reciprocate past generosity from New Zealanders when disaster has struck.

He says ordinary Tongans regard New Zealanders as part of their extended Pacific family and the generous response is to be expected.

Radio New Zealand's Pacific issues correspondent says more than $800,000 has been raised so far, which includes $500,000 from the Tongan government.

Mr Taumoepeau says the business community is also going to contribute.

Lawyer Joel Fotu, who is based in Auckland, says another motivator for the generosity is the strong link many in Tonga have through their education in New Zealand.

Mr Fotu says this is the one chance for many Tongans to make a financial gesture to Christchurch in its time of need.