Extending Manaaki to Our Community

A 40-foot container full of desks and chairs has been shipped over to schools in Tonga following January’s volcanic eruption.

Several schools in Tonga were devastated by the tsunami that followed the eruption with equipment and furniture being lost or destroyed.

AUT Office for Pacific Advancement and South Campus, with a contribution from the AUT Brand and Marketing team responded to a request for assistance by leaders of the Tongan community by donating over 150 desks and chairs, as well as sponsoring the shipping container used in its transportation.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Walter Fraser says while AUT’s small contribution is symbolic of us responding to our place in the world there is still much work to be done to fully understand that we are inextricably linked to the futures of Pacific communities both here in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa and in our region of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.

“We are privileged to have many Tongan staff, students and alumni who are a part of our own AUT family. Responding to the impact of the tsunami in Tonga is us extending manaakitanga to our own kin or kāinga.”

The New Zealand Tongan community set up a relief response collection point at Mt Smart (Rarotonga) stadium.

From 25 to 27 February, the donated furniture from AUT was loaded into the container at the response site ready to be shipped to Tonga.