NATION

From Sawana To New Zealand, And Back

A letter, written on behalf of the people of Vanuabalavu and Sawana Village, and addressed to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, has received a warm response. The letter was
18 Jun 2016 13:06
From Sawana  To New Zealand,  And Back
Reverend Sione Mone. Photo: Facebook

A letter, written on behalf of the people of Vanuabalavu and Sawana Village, and addressed to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, has received a warm response.

The letter was written in April by a Reverend from Sawana Village, Sione Mone.

In the letter, he expressed his appreciation for the assistance rendered by the New Zealand government following Tropical Cyclone Winston.

It is not clear how Reverend Mone’s letter was delivered to Mr Key.

PM Key’s letter to Reverend Mone was dated May 17, 2016.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji Mark Ramsden personally handed over the letter from PM Key to the Lau Provincial Council office on Thursday. It will be delivered to Reverend Mone, who is currently attending a Methodist Church conference in Tonga, according to church officials here. Sawana is a village on the island of Vanuabalavu, in the Lau group and is part of the Tikina of Lomaloma.

Villages on the island were severely affected after Cyclone Winston. Many said it was the worst ever to hit the island.

Mr Key replied to Reverend Mone’s letter saying he was touched by it.

He said the New Zealand government responded swiftly and deployed members of their Defence Force, Ministry of Health and Fire Service to help villagers on the island and in other parts of the country.

Mr Key said in the letter: “Our co-ordinated response was one of the New Zealand’s largest peacetime deployments in the Pacific.

“Over 450 tonnes of aid supplies and construction materials were delivered by New Zealand to communities in the Northern Lau Group,” he said.

He said New Zealand remained committed to help Fiji with its long term recovery efforts and their connection with Vanuabalavu Island would continue.

Before signing off on the letter Prime Minister Key thanked Reverend Mone and sent his best wishes to people of Vanuabalavu Island.

Acting Roko Tui Lau Joeli Nagera said: “We are thankful to the New Zealand government for their assistance after Tropical Cyclone Winston.”

Sawana Village is separated from the main village of Lomaloma only by a large ditch. As the population is predominantly of Tongan origin, church services are conducted in Tongan, as well as Fijian.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj

 

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