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NZ Tonga Community Unite for Tonga Rugby


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Auckland April 20th 2011

NZ Tonga Community Unite for Tonga Rugby

A united approach is what is being delivered by the NZ Tongan community and local business associations throughout New Zealand as preparations begin for the Rugby World Cup campaign for Tonga’s ‘Ikale Tahi National team. This is being led by the Tonga RWC Komiti2011 and is gaining momentum amongst community, church, business and government leaders.

Controversy had recently surfaced with the Tonga Rugby Union Association (TRUA) over the salary being paid to authority chair Bob Tuckey of Australia, a former International Rugby Board (IRB) vice president with many saying this issue currently being dealt with in Tonga is over-shadowing all the positive activity happening in New Zealand.

“There has been no over shadowing of our activities in New Zealand. If anything, our supporters are even more determined to support the ‘Ikale Tahi team especially when over 3 billion people will be watching the opening match between the All Blacks and Tonga, “ says Emosi Koloto, spokesperson for the Komiti and ex-Ikale Tahi player.

All supporters for the ‘Ikale Tahi team should remain positive and focussed on winning the World Cup – and put all rugby politics aside. The Tongan team should not be underestimated when we come up against the All Blacks, Canada, Japan and France,” says Koloto.

“Bob Tuckey and his administration have been very helpful responding to our requests. It is TRUA’s role to focus on the rugby. Unlike the last World Cup, the community is not waiting to support the team when they win, we will welcome the team into New Zealand expecting them to win the World Cup,” says Koloto.

Auckland City’s Karangahape Road (K.Road) and Greenwood Corner, Epsom have adopted Tonga as its 2nd team. During RWC both locations will be ‘Tongafied’ by ‘redding’ itself out as Tonga’s national colour and showcasing Tongan culture and products.

The Tonga RWC Komiti2011 was set up in February and endorsed by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs. The Komiti is made up of nine Tongan Representatives from the sectors: media, business, community, church, rugby, NZ Government and the Tongan Government.
“85,000 international visitors is expected to attend this event, we know 44% of these visitors will be first time visitors to the Pacific region. It’s not just about Rugby, it’s about Tonga leveraging of the 3rd largest sporting event in the world and boosting its international profile,” says Komiti Chairperson Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau.

A RWC calendar specific to the Tongan Rugby Team and its supporters will be available early July to include all events across Auckland, Whangarei and Wellington.

ends

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