Fundraisers must make sure money for ‘Ikale Tahi is wisely managed, Sika warns

Any fundraising for Tonga’s national rugby union team while they are in England for the World Cup next week must be wisely managed, Parliament has been warned.

The Whole House Committee Chairperson Hon. Sēmisi Sika told Parliament on Monday that any money raised must be spent on its intended purpose.

Hon. Sika made the comments while telling the House about a national fundraising campaign for the the ‘Ikale Tahi, who face Georgia in a Pool C game in Kingsholm, Gloster, on September 19.

The fundraising event will be held in Nuku’alofa this Friday.

Hon. Sika warned that in the past Tongan sport teams competing overseas had not received most of the money raised because the events were not well planned and managed.

Hon. Sika, who is the chairman of the Tonga Rugby League Committee, referred to two fundraising campaigns in Auckland in 2011 and 2013.

He said: “Ko e motu’á ni ‘oku fuoloa mai ‘eku fa’a poupou ki he ngaahi me’a pehé ní. Ko ‘etau ‘osi kotoa atu ko ia ki ‘Okalani ‘i he 2011, na’a tau kau atu ki he ngaahi feinga pa’anga na’e fai aí. Na’e ‘i ai e feinga pa’anga ia na’e tānaki e 1 kilu pea ‘osi pea to e ‘alu pē kilú ia ki he ngaahi fakamole ko ia na’e faí”.

(Translation: “I have been involved in supporting fundraising such as this one for a long time. We were all in Auckland in 2011 and we participated in fundraising there. One fundraising campaign raised NZ$100,000 and nearly all the money raised went on paying for the expense of holding the activity.”)

Hon Sika said that in 2013 he was in Auckland with the Mate Ma’a Tonga rugby league team and a committee in New Zealand staged a fundraising for the team before they flew to England.

He said once again most of the money raised went to paying for the expenses of organising the fundraising event.

Hon. Sika said it appeared this pattern of unsuccessful fundraising was common among the Tongan community in Tonga and Tongans overseas.

He said people should take notice of previous failures so they would not be repeated when raising money for the ‘Ikale Tahi.

Prince Taufa’ahau takes the lead

Hon. Sika said the royal family had been informed about Friday’s activity and young Prince Tau’ahau already bought five tickets.

He told the House all money raised on Friday would all go to the ‘Ikale Tahi team, except for some minor expenses that had to be paid from the money.

This would be limited to necessary equipment such as chairs and tables hired to be used during the fundraising and nothing else.

Hon. Sika said there had been plans to ask some of the members of the public to help pay for these items so they could save money.

However, given that people had only recently paid for their kavenga (obligations such as presenting gifts) during the coronation of His Majesty, he thought it might be better to use part of the money raised to pay for the equipment and the rest would go the ‘Ikale Tahi players.

Fundraising in Auckland

In 2011 a committee in New Zealand was set up to raise fund for the ‘Ikale Tahi. The committee was believed to have raised about NZ$100,000 dollars, but most of the money was used to pay expenses such as the hotel in the city where the fundraising dinner was held.

It is believed that not all the money owing for the NZ$1000 per table tickets could be collected.

The fundraising in 2013 for the Mate Ma’a Tonga was held at the Otahuhu Rugby League Club.

Kaniva News attended the fundraising night and witnessed people standing outside the door complaining that they had pre-paid for tables at the dinner, but when they arrived all tables were fully occupied.

When they complained to the organiser, they were told the tables had been taken by people who arrived earlier and paid at the door.

The issue was widely discussed on social media the following day. Many people believed the main problem was that people who did the fundraisings were only volunteers and Good Samaritans who were willing to help, but did not have the skills or knowledge to organise such events.

The main points

  • Any fundraising for Tonga’s national rugby union team while they are in England for the World Cup next week must be wisely managed, Parliament has been warned.
  • The Whole House Committee Chairperson Hon Sēmisi Sika told Parliament on Monday that any money raised must be spent on its intended purpose.
  • Sika made the comments while telling the House about a national fundraising campaign for the the ‘Ikale Tahi to be held in Nuku’alofa this Friday.
  • Tonga play Georgia on September 19.

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