SUNBIZ

Unfavourable Weather Delays Completion Of $1.9 Million Api Tonga Project In Suva

The Apitonga project is the initiative a few years by Tongan students studying in Fiji of which current students and Tongan community continue to oversee and fundraise for.
19 Aug 2019 16:23
Unfavourable Weather Delays Completion Of $1.9 Million Api Tonga Project In Suva
Api Tonga building under construction in Suva. Photo: Inoke Rabonu.

Bad weather has delayed completion works of the newly constructed $1.9million two-storey Api Tonga multi-purpose building at Laucala Bay Road in Suva.

Api Tonga means home for Tongans.

Fiji based Tonga community secretary Sina Kami confirmed that the constructors have confirmed that the building will be completed in November this year.

“The complex was planned to be completed this month (August) but bad weather has delayed works,” Mrs Kami said.

“They have assured us that by November we shall have the keys in our hands,” she said.

Groundbreaking of the complex was held last August.

The delay in the construction has also delayed the official opening.

The official opening will now await the return of Tongan students from their end of the 2019 academic year break.

The Api Tonga project is the initiative a few years by Tongan students studying in Fiji of which current students and Tongan community continue to oversee and fundraise for.

She said apart from those living here 99 per cent of the members are Tongan students.

“We will wait for the students’ return for the 2020 study year then we will finalise official opening details,” she said.

The double-storey structure houses a 300-seater multi-purpose hall on the top floor with a place in the front to accommodate temporary extension with a marquee or tent.

“Students and members of the Tonga community here in Fiji always have problems securing venues for their functions, meetings, practices and lotu. This new building will take care of all these now.”

Api Tonga building under construction in Suva. Photo: Inoke Rabonu.

Api Tonga building under construction in Suva. Photo: Inoke Rabonu.

The bottom space will have accommodation facilities to cater for Tongans coming to Fiji for their United States visa application, medical and or meetings/visitations. The car park space is reasonable to accommodate patrons.

“For us (Tongans) to lodge our visas for US we need to come over to Fiji to lodge and we are always faced with accommodation issues,” she said.

“People also need to come over to Fiji for dialysis and other medical reasons, for visitations and families coming over to attend graduations and other social obligations.

“That is why we have included accommodation facilities of which we will be charging reasonable rates to cover electricity, water and other items.

“While we have seating space for 300 on the top level we can also accommodate more that is why the fale (Tongan word for house) is built to accommodate overflow of people.

“There is space to mount a marquee or tent for extra seating.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Kami said while they were close in raising the amount needed for the new construction they would continue with fundraising to purchase furniture.

“We are thankful to the global Tonga communities that have generously supported us financially and in-kind, we are indebted to their good heart and free giving.

“Even the government of Tonga is aware of this project because it is not only for Tongans in Fiji but for those also back in the islands and those who are overseas.

“Tongans will no longer have to worry about where to stay when they come over to Fiji.

“This initiative was initiated by Tongans who have come over to study here, they identified the difficulties faced by Tongans in Fiji and had have set up this project.

“Our pleas now to fellow Tongans around the globe including those in Tonga to support us raise funds for the purchasing of furniture to dress up the complex.”

Feedback: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj

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