Remittances to Pacific islands may fall away, community leaders tell economic researchers

Pehē ‘e ha lipooti fo’ou ‘i Nu’u Sila’ ni ‘e holo ‘a e laku pa’anga ‘a e kakai Pasifiki' kau ai ‘a Tonga ki he Pasifiki’ koe’uhi ‘oku ‘a’alu ia ke toko si’i e kakai ‘e kei nofo he ‘otu motu. Pea ‘oku ‘uhinga ‘eni kuo lahi ange e folau mai ia ki Nu’u Sila' pea lau ai ‘e he tokolahi ko hanau fonua’ ‘o kinautolu ‘a ‘Aotealoa. 'I he ta'u kuo 'osi' na'e fe'unga mo e pa'anga $55 miliona ne li 'e he kakai Tonga 'i Nu'u Sila' ki Tonga'.

Remittances to Pacific islands, including Tonga, may be declining, a new report says.

The report, The New Zealand Pacific Economy, which was issued by the New Zealand Treasury, out to examine the value of the Pacifica economy in New Zealand.

Part of the report examined the role of Islanders sending money to their countries of origin.

Several church leaders talked about a possible decline in remittances because of fewer family members living in the Pacific Islands.

For example, the second, third and fourth generation of Pacific consider New Zealand to be ‘home’.

The World Bank estimated that in 2017, New Zealand sent $2.4 billion to foreign countries in remittances.

Of this, $55 million was sent to Tonga, $65 million was sent to Samoa, and $22 million was sent to Fiji.

Many Pacific people send remittances to the Pacific Islands to provide financial support to their extended families and villages.

“This is very personal to each individual and family,” one community leader said.

“I would not like to speculate on how much they send home.

“I can tell you that I would probably send between $2000 and $5000 per year back to Tonga. It would depend on the need back home.”

Over a third of the money sent to Tonga and Samoa reportedly comes from remittance.

The money plays a large part in sustaining the economy in countries such as Samoa or Tonga.

The report said remittances were often perceived to be acts of love and responsibility.

“Fa’alavelave and gifts are up to the individuals and families. The ‘giving’ is the cultural side, not the amount,” one community leader said.

“With the third and fourth generation Pasifika Islanders I would say there are fewer occasions where they send money back to the islands.

“It is because there are fewer fanau back in the islands to send money back to, or NZ is considered home.”

The main points

  • Remittances to Pacific islands, including Tonga, may be declining, a new report says.
  • The report, The New Zealand Pacific Economy, which was issued by the New Zealand Treasury, out to examine the value of the Pacifica economy in New Zealand.
  • Part of the report examined the role of Islanders sending money to their countries of origin.

For more information

The New Zealand Pacific Economy

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