Two more Tongan fruit pickers abscond in New Zealand in latest in series of embarrassing escapes

    Seasonal Labour Manager for Mr Apple, Alistair Jamieson (L) thanking PM Pohiva for awarding him with a recognition certificate by the Tongan government. Photo/Kalino Lātū (Kaniva Tonga News)

    The absconding by Tongan seasonal workers in New Zealand which brought their Prime Minister on a mission to mend relationship with one of New Zealand’s biggest employers a fortnight ago has taken a turn for the worse this week.

    Two more workers went awol on Monday night – and a vehicle belonging to the company, Mr Apple, in Hastings is also missing and it is believed that they had taken it without permission.

    The incident comes only a week after a visit to New Zealand by Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva in an attempt to reassure Mr Apple management that his government will review the recruitment process in order to address discipline issues among the Tongan workers at the site.

    At the time there was concern over a worker disappeared on arrival at Auckland International Airport in early March – something which has not happened in the 10 years that the scheme had been running.

    Kaniva understands that four of the Tongan group leaders working for Mr Apple have been sent by the employer to Auckland to follow up a tip-off that the two are with family members in Auckland.

    The seasonal labour manager for Mr Apple, Alistair Jamieson has asked to meet Tongan community leaders and a meeting has been organised for him by Tongan government liaison officer, Mr Sefita Hao’uli.

    Mr Hao’uli confirmed to Kaniva this evening that the two, who are Ma’ufanga had disappeared Monday evening and it is believed that they were heading to Auckland where one of them have close family members.

    He also confirmed that the missing vehicle is linked to their disappearance and there is concern for their safety and those of others as they are not licensed to drive in New Zealand.

    It is understood that the town officer for Ma’ufanga has been called into the Ministry of Internal Affairs and he and the families of the two absconders are assisting with the efforts to locate them.

    Mr Hao’uli confirmed that the Prime Minister has been informed and is being kept updated on developments here in New Zealand.

    Asked how everyone feels about this in light of the recent visit by the Prime Minister, Mr Hao’uli said that like the rest of the workers at the Hastings site, everyone feels let down by what had happened.

    “ I can’t answer for the Prime Minister and our staff in Tonga but I can only imagine that they’re also extremely disappointed”, he said.

    The absconder who disappeared on arrival at Auckland International airport, Samuela Manuofetoa is believed to be still in New Zealand.

    For more information: 

    Tongan church leaders in NZ search for fruit picker who absconded from airport

    PM Pohiva’s visits electrify Hawkes Bay’s Tongan fruit pickers and community

    Tongan PM seeks forgiveness from RSE employers after employee fled at airport

    1 COMMENT

    1. Ko e hola ko ia ʻa ha ni’ihi toli Tonga ʻi Nuʻu Sila ne iku meʻa mai ai e ʻEiki Palēmiá ke fakaleleiʻi e vā mo e ʻū ngoueʻanga lalahi taha ʻi Nuʻu Sila ní he uike ua kuo maliu atú kuo toe liu mai ʻo kovi ange ia ʻi he uiké ni.

      Naʻe hola ha tokoua ngāue Tonga he pō Mōnité – pea ʻoku puli mo e meʻalele ʻa e kautaha Mr Apple ʻi Hastings foki pea ʻoku ai e tui ʻokú na ō taʻepoaki ai.

      Ko e hoko ʻeni ʻa e meʻá ni hili pe ha uike e ʻi Nuʻu Sila ʻa e ʻEiki Palēmiá ʻAkilisi Pōhiva ʻi ha feinga ke fakapapauʻi ki he ngāueʻanga Mr Apple ʻe toe vakaiʻi ʻe hono puleʻangá ʻa e founga ki hono fili mai ʻo e tamaiki kae lava ke tokangaʻi e ngaahi ʻīsiu ʻoku hoko he tamaiki ngāue Tongá ʻi he ngāueʻangá.

      ʻI he taimi ko iá ne ʻi ai e hohaʻa ki ha taha ngāue ne puli ia heʻene tūʻuta pe ʻi he Malaʻe Vakapuna Fakavahaʻapuleʻanga ʻAokalaní he konga ki muʻa ʻo Māʻasí – ne teʻeki hoko ha meʻa pehē ʻi he taʻu ʻe 10 talu e lele mai ʻa e polokalama tolí.

      ʻOku mahino ki he Kanivá ko e toko fā mei he kulupu ʻo e kau taki Tonga he Mr Apple kuo tuku mai kinautolu ki ʻAokalani ke muimuiʻi ha fakaofiofi ʻoku pehē ko e toko uá ni ʻokú na ʻi hona fāmili ʻi ʻAokalani.

      Kuo kole ʻe he pule leipa ʻa Mr Apple Alistair Jamieson ke fai ha fakataha mo e kau taki komiunitī Tongá pea kuo fokotuʻutuʻu ha fakataha mo ia ʻe he ʻōfisa fetuʻutaki ʻa e puleʻanga Tongá Sēfita Haoʻuli

      Kuo fakapapauʻi ʻe Haoʻuli ki he Kanivá he efiafí ni ko e toko ua ʻeni mei Maʻufanga ne na puli ʻi he Mōnité pea ʻoku ai e tui kuó na huʻu ki ʻAokalani ʻa ia ʻoku ʻi ai e taha ʻia kinaua ʻoku ai hono fāmili ofi ai.

      Ne ne toe fakapapauʻi ʻoku ʻi ai e kaunga ʻa e meʻalele ne molé ki he puli ʻa e ongouá pea ʻoku ai e hohaʻa ki heʻena moʻuí mo ha niʻihi kehe he ʻoku teʻeki ke na laiseni ke fakaʻuli ʻi Nuʻu Silá ni.

      ʻOku mahino foki ne fetuʻutaki e Potungāue ʻInitēnolo ʻAfea ʻa Tongá ki he ʻōfisa kolo ʻo Maʻufanga pea ʻoku nau fengāueʻaki mo e fāmili ʻo e ongo holá ke feingaʻi ke maʻu kinaua.

      Kuo fakapapauʻi ʻe Haoʻuli kuo ʻosi fakahā ʻeni ki he ʻEiki Palēmiá pea ʻoku fai pe hono talamuimuiʻi ia ʻi he ngaahi fekumi ʻoku lolotonga fai ʻi Nuʻu Sila ní.

      ʻI hano ʻeke ange fēfē nai e ongoʻi ʻa e taha kotoa ki he meʻa ko ʻeni he ne toki ʻaʻahi ni mai pe ʻEiki Palēmiá, ne pehē ʻe Haoʻuli hangē ko e toenga e kau ngāue ʻi Hastings ʻoku ongoʻi mamahi e taha kotoa he meʻa ko ʻeni kuo hokó.

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