Tongan religious leaders of different faiths in Auckland have joined hands to help resolve social and economic challenges facing Tongan community in New Zealand.
Fifteen religious leaders made the move for the first time in the 50-year history of Tongan migration to New Zealand.
“We have been in operation for over a year now, but we have just got our network established legally,” says Chairperson Rev Tevita Finau.
“Tongans face many socio-economic challenges but we have come together to counter these issues and help our people take ownership and leadership of their future,” says Secretary Sione Tu’itahi, representative of the Baha’i Faith to the network.
“We will collaborate with Tongan leaders in other fields such education, health, work and income in order to navigate pathways forward,” the secretary adds. “We acknowledge the challenges, but we focus on the strengths and aspirations of our people.”
Some 15 denominations and faiths are members. They include the: Tongan parish of the Methodist Church, The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, The Tongan Catholic Community, The Seventh Day Adventist, The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints, Siasi ‘o Tonga Tau’ataina, Siasi Fakatahataha ‘a e Kakai Tonga, Siasi ‘o Tonga, Siasi Konisitutone Tau’ataina ‘o Tonga ‘i Nu’usila, The Assemblies of God, The Anglican Church, Tongan Wesleyan Church of New Zealand (Upper Room Centre), the Baha’i Faith, Amatakiloa Gospel Church, Blessed Hope Christian Centre, and the Pacific Island Evangelical & Missionary Network.
“Tongan denominations or faith-based organisations that are yet to be members are warmly welcome to join. Our aim is to collaborate for our collective good and wellbeing,” the secretary says.