Source: University of Otago
Mary-Jane Kivalu (Dunedin Tonga Relief Volunteer), Rev Tevita Langi (Falemaama Church), Dr Xaviour Walker (Associate Dean Pacific – Division of Health Sciences), Finau Taungapeau (Lead Coordinator, Dunedin Tonga Relief), Palanite Taungapeau (President, Dunedin Tongan Community Inc), Fran Cockerell (Manager, Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health) with the supplies.
The Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health (VoT) has supported Tongan relief efforts with a $2,000 donation.
Following the January volcanic eruption and resulting tsunami in Tonga, the Pacific community in Dunedin mobilised to gather support including food, clothing, water and other essential supplies to assist the Tonga recovery efforts.
The donation paid for supplies which have now been shipped to Tonga.
The Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health (VoT) has a strong relationship with the local Tongan community, through collaborative work in the teaching, research and service areas.
The local Tongan community are closely involved in the work carried out by Va’a o Tautai including the Pacific Immersion Programme and teaching into other Health Professional Programmes. Representatives of the Tongan community also provide advice through Divisional Pacific Advisory and Reference Groups.
The message from the VoT team is clear: “We are in this together and while separated by distance, we stand alongside our Tongan community and those who are affected”.
The Division and Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health sponsorship was presented by Dr Xaviour Walker, Associate Dean Pacific – Division of Health Sciences and Ms Fran Cockerell, Manager – Va’a o Tautai, to members of the Dunedin Tonga Relief.