The national prayer service for the people of Tonga was held this morning at the Ekalesia Millennium Hall drawing hundreds of people to pray together and officially begin the fund-raising efforts to help families and friends in the Kingdom.
Last week the government approached the Niue Tongan Community to coordinate and combine efforts to raise funds and resources for Niue’s relief efforts for Tonga as the Kingdom begin the arduous task of rebuilding their country after the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami of January 15th.
Before the service began, people walked into the Hall this morning to the beautiful and emotional singing by the Tonga Community as they sang hymns remembering their families in their homeland.
The National prayer service is a collaboration between the Ekalesia Kerisiano Niue, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist, and the Apostolic church. The service was led by the Deputy President of the Ekalesia church Reverend Navy Salatielu.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi and his wife Tanya were there, Cabinet ministers, Members of the Legislative Assembly, High Commissioners of New Zealand and Australia, Lady Fifita Talagi, senior public servants joined the Tongan Community in praying for their families and the people of Tonga.
President of the Tonga Community Patelisio Vea spoke on behalf of the more than thirty-one Tongan families who live in Niue. Speaking in Vagahau, Sio Vea thanked the people of Niue, the government, and the churches for the support, the prayers, and for thinking of them during these trying times.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi told the congregation that the Niue government and the people of Niue will stand in solidarity with our closest neighbour, the Kingdom of Tonga as they recover from the devastation.
He spoke about the letter that he sent last week to his friend the newly elected Prime Minister of Tonga Siaosi Sovaleni that Niue is not a wealthy nation, but that as a small country we will do our part to help and support our families and friends in Tonga.
More than $12,600 was raised today to begin the fund-raising efforts over the next two weeks.
Yesterday Patelisio Vea told BCN News that they had requested to the Niue government that it is the wish of the Tongan Community in Niue that the relief efforts from Niue be sent directly to the families of Tongans and Niueans living in Niue.
The fundraising efforts for the island will also include a radiothon. A bank account is being set up by the Department of Justice, Lands & Surveys and Community Affairs for people to donate to the national relief effort. Details will be released as information is available from the government.
The National Prayer Service will be televised on TV Niue tonight on Channel 1 from 7pm.