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Tongan community groups to hold fono following recent gang violence

Wednesday 15 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Tonga

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Tongan community groups to hold fono following recent gang violence
Photo: RNZ

Tongan community groups in Auckland are holding a fono or meeting this Friday following recent gang shootings in Auckland.

"A fono is needed to address the problem of Tongan youth getting involved with gangs," Secretary of the Aotearoa Tongan Health Workers Association, Pakilau Manase Lua said.

He said the community is also concerned that next week's rugby league international between the Kiwis and Mate Ma'a Tonga will be marred by violence between gang members.

Manase Lua talks about the Dawn Raids period in NZ's history
Manase Lua talks about the Dawn Raids period in NZ's history Photo: Tikilounge Productions

The Tongan groups are calling for an end to gang violence ahead of the rugby league international.

The meeting will take place this Friday in Mangere.

"What I've done is initiate a safe forum for some conversations for the leaders, and also young people and even those involved with the gangs to come and talk in a traditional way around some kava, traditional faikava is usually a place where conversations can be had safely," Manase Lua said.

Youth leader Simulata Pope said the community is concerned that Tongan youth have been involved in many gang-related incidents in past years.

"One of the things we're incredibly concerned about is a lot of...all of this is happening while leading up to Mate Ma'a Tonga, we kind of community strategy ahead of the game.

A lot of the Mate Ma'a Tonga buzz brings massive amounts of people especially our young people and the last thing we want is for that to be tainted by gangs or anything like that," Pope said.

Mate Ma'a Tonga plays the Kiwis at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday, June 25.