Brisbane raises $22,236.90 for Tongan Olympian Brisbane, Australia

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The Brisbane Tongan Community has raised AUD$22,236.90 in a fund raising concert for Brisbane-based Tongan Olympian – Pita Taufatofua on 3 June 2016. Bringing together a cross-section of organisations, businesses and individuals from Brisbane’s Tongan, Samoan and Pasifika communities, the night was a huge success bringing together a non-stop program of cultural performances, entertainment and taekwondo demonstrations at the Tongan Uniting Church Hall in Highgate Hill. Some of the Pasifika organisations that contributed or performed items on the night included the Pacific Beatz, Samoa Victim Support Group (QLD), Imex Money Transfer, Digicel Pacific, QLD Tonga Netball, Pasifika Women’s Alliance, Pacific Islands Reference Group, Radio 4EB FM Tongan Program, Highgate Hill ‘Park Church’ Tongan Uniting Church Youth and the Fo‘i‘one‘one Kava Club. The rest of the night brought together young and old to celebrate, support and cheer Pita on. Pita Taufatofua qualified at the recent Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea winning gold and the opportunity to represent the Kingdom of Tonga in taekwondo at the upcoming OIympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 5 to 21 of August 2016. According to Brisbane Tongan journalist, Sulieni Layt, the idea for the fundraiser night was first conceived when Sulieni and his colleague Mele Ngauamo conducted a radio interview with Pita and his coach, taekwondo master Paula Sitapa, on the Radio 4EB FM – Voice of Tonga program. “We were inspired by Pita’s story and his dream of representing the Kingdom of Tonga at the Olympic Games, despite the many challenges and barriers he had encountered along the way,” Sulieni said. “Perhaps what resonated most with us was his Christian faith and determination, combined with the fact that he is essentially self-funded,” he added. Given Pita’s father, Pita Taufatofua Sr, heralds from Kotu in Ha‘apai, the organisers approached the Brisbane Fo‘i‘one‘one Kava Club who were more than enthusiastic to assist in hosting the packed concert to provide Pita and his coach with some much-needed financial relief in reaching their Olympic dream, whilst providing a platform that united the Tongan and greater multicultural communities of Brisbane. A special guest included the Acting High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Tonga from Canberra, Mr. Leonaitasi Kuluni, who represented the Tongan Government and the current Tonga High Commissioner, HRH Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tuku‘aho. The organisers are forever grateful to those individuals who donated their time and services on the night, not to mention the overwhelming support from the Brisbane Tongan and Samoan communities. Together they join forces to wish Pita Taufatofua all the best at Rio 2016!

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