News Story

New Zealand Congregations Gather Aid for Tonga

Congregations in Auckland and Hamilton send relief to the islands

Many of the members in several Auckland and Hamilton congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are of Tongan descent. 

When the volcanic disaster unfolded in Tonga, many of these Church members in New Zealand organised relief efforts to bring aid to their friends and families in Tonga.

In Hamilton, the project was organized by the Rotorkauri Stake along with members of the Waikato Tongan Community and the Hamilton City Council.

The Auckland project was put together by the Penrose Stake which has two large Tongan-speaking congregations.

Local businesses donated equipment and shipping containers and people brought their donations to their local chapels where items were sorted, packed and loaded. 

Because of Covid-19, some families put their donations together at home which were collected by pickup teams.  

In Auckland, three containers were filled. 

Lisi Leakehe was there and said, “It was a sacred experience to witness the sacrifices of many who have little, and yet they offered an abundance for their friends, families and people they don’t know.”

Cheers of joy erupted when the last container door was closed and the donations were on their way to Tonga. 


Faaleaga Young Yen is president of the Penrose Stake. He said, “This project started with love and surely ended with the same spirit of love, sacrifice, joy and gratitude which are all fruits of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

“Giving this service blessed our members’ lives as offerings and service were rendered without thought for self or family circumstances. It is a recognition of a greater need and love for our brothers and sisters in Tonga that superseded all else.”

Three more containers were filled in Hamilton. 

The president of Rotorkauri Stake is Ra Bacon. "As soon as we heard of the eruption and tsunami in Tonga, we wanted to help,” he said.

Note: A stake is a collection of congregations called wards. 

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