News Release

Tongan Prime Minister and Church Leaders Recognise Ha'apai Home Builders

An awards ceremony honouring volunteers and apprentices who took part in the Ha’apai Emergency Relief Program was held 20 March 2015 on the island of Ha’apai.

Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, accompanied by Elder ‘Aisake Tukuafu, travelled to the island to attend the ceremony.

The Honourable Prime Minister of Tonga, Samuela ‘Aklisi Pohiva, along with other government officials were also in attendance.

Mr Nonga Soakai, Deputy CEO of Tonga Institute of Science and Technology, presented the certificates to the apprentices.  Volunteers who assisted in the project were given certificates of appreciation for their contributions.

Governor of Ha’apai, Hon Mo’ale Finau, offered a vote of thanks following the presentation of the awards.

The event took place in a Latter-day Saint chapel where locals gathered to witness the milestone achieved by the apprentices and volunteers who built the 105 homes for families who lost theirs due to Cyclone Ian. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through LDS Charities Australia, partnered with the Tongan Government in this humanitarian project to help the people of Ha’apai recover from the devastating cyclone.

Prime Minister Pohiva expressed his appreciation to the Church for its support of the people of Ha’apai. “The Church has demonstrated a great example of the Good Samaritan, good partnership and good relationship between the Church and the Government,” he said.

Elder Haleck said, “The good people of Ha’apai need to treat their homes with respect, and honour the wonderful island the Lord has created for them to live and to prosper.” 

“May the Lord bless the Prime Minister in performing his responsibilities and representing the people of Tonga,” Elder Haleck continued, “and give him wisdom and guidance to do the things that will benefit the Kingdom of Tonga.”

After the meeting, Elder Haleck presented Prime Minister Pohiva with a letter from the Church’s First Presidency congratulating him on his election on 29 December.

Photo credit Sione Folau Langi and Siniva Fotu









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