Seven pastors of the Tonga Houʻeiki Church in Brisbane declared they are no longer under the control of the Church’s head office in Tonga in a protest against a resolution passed by the church conference to purchase real estate worth AUDS$1.5 million.
The property is located at 25-33 Innes Street, Geebung, Brisbane according to information given to Kaniva News. It says the property contains five lots which belong to the Geebung Baptist Church.
The seven pastors are Rev Kiu Makitoa, Rev Sione Faiva , Rev Kelepi Uele, Rev Pita Pua Likiliki, Rev Taniela Ma’u Moala, Rev Paula Militoni, Leiufisa Kengike and Rev Peni Mailaiu.
They claimed that the Brisbane church will sell its two properties to help the purchase and a church’s property in Sydney will be held as security for the loan.
The pastors fear that the loan would put the small number of church members in Brisbane into financial difficulties and that they could not afford to pay off the loan.
They mentioned the Sydney based Tongan Free Wesleyan Church’s property known as Pulela’a which was liquidated this year because the church struggled to pay off its loan of more than AUD$20 million.
However the president of the Church, Dr Tu’ipulotu Katoanga told local newspapers the church has already secured $800,000 for the purchase. He made it clear that the purchase of the Innes Street property is one of the church’s investment projects.
He added that the money for the purchase will be donated by the Tonga, New Zealand and the United States dioceses.
Dr Katoanga said they had done this sort of investment in the past to one of their churches in New Zealand and it was successful.
The Brisbane investment project has been assessed by the church on a number of criteria before it returned to the church conference for approval this year, the president told local media.
The owner of the new property will be the Tonga Hou’eiki Church and not the Tonga Hou’eiki Brisbane church, the president said. It means the church is confident with the project as its financial matters will be looked after by the church head office in Tonga and not the Brisbane based Tonga Hou’eiki Church.
Dr Katoanga also said the church was aware of those who had defected and there is a plan to have a talanoa or talk with them.
The talanoa could be about whether they want to establish a church of their own, but still work together with the Tonga Hou’eiki in Brisbane, or whether they wish to permanently defect and establish their own church.