Hamilton City Council has provided a one-off $10,000 grant to kick-start a Hamilton-centred relief effort for Tonga.
The money will be provided to the Tongan Community Trust which is co-ordinating relief efforts on behalf of the city. The funds will be used to help cover shipping and freight costs for donated goods leaving Hamilton and the wider Waikato region.
Mayor Paula Southgate said the city’s Tongan community was “hurting desperately” but have been very quick to put in place pragmatic initiatives to get help to where it is most needed, fast.
“They have told us that right now, helping fund freight is the best way we can help. We have taken their guidance on that because we don’t want to duplicate effort or make things more complicated than we need to during a hugely stressful time,” she said.
“While the Council has donated $10,000 there are also other ways Hamiltonians can help via authorised GiveALittle funding sites or via donations of food and other non-perishable goods.”
“The Trust will be advising how Hamiltonians can get in behind those efforts and we will help to get the word out. There is a lot of goodwill out there towards our wonderful Pacific neighbours and I know many people in the city will want to step up to help.”
Southgate and Chief Executive Lance Vervoort have also written to Hamilton businesses to encourage further donations.
“I know one business has already stepped up generously and I’m confident that those Hamilton businesses that can afford to help, will. This disaster is very close to home and many of us have strong connections to Tonga and the broader Pacific. People in our city will want to do what they can.”