Tongan Māori whānau pray for safety

By Tamati Tiananga

Semisi Vea Sikei of Tongan and Ngāti Maniapoto descent has lost all contact with whānau since the devastating Tongan volcano eruption on Saturday. Now he fears for the safety of his elderly grandfather who needs fulltime care.

News updates from the Dominion Post on what's happening in Tonga is the only thing Vea Sikei can depend on, as concerns for grandpa Sami Mafileo continue to grow.

Vea Sikei said, "At the moment it was published that there were no deaths or injuries, so I'm super hopeful the whole of Tonga will be like that."

Vea Sikei has lost contact with more than one hundred relatives living in Tonga. The last time Semisi was in contact with whānau was when his granddad, who has been bedridden for three years and needs fulltime care, can be seen here in a Facebook video being evacuated.  

"I started to get teary-eyed and started to cry, I started to go on to our family pages and watch the live feeds from Tonga. Because my grandpa is bedridden, they were carrying him from the first floor to the second floor just to get him to safety."

Raising funds to support whānau 

Tania Tuinukuafe whose husband [Holmes Tuinukuafe] owns an automotive workshop in South Auckland, HT Automotive Repairs, will also look to provide aid.   

Tania Tuinukuafe said, “My husband has his mother, sister and many families back in Tonga, and knowing that landscape of Tonga and the tsunami coming in we are worried because it’s mostly flat.”

Semisi, a dancer, is helping to organise an event to help raise funds to aid families affected the most.

"I will be performing rogue, hip hop and a little drag item. I've been doing hip hop dancing since 2007 and ever since then I have been performing at festivals and concerts. Just last year I started doing drag performances."

Like Tuinukuafe, Vea Sike iis calling on anyone who wants to help those affected to get in contact with a local Tongan church.