Tens of thousands of pa’anga raised for ʻIkale Tahi by Aoniu is yet to be paid to players

‘Epeli Taione, the Chair of Tonga Rugby Union and also one of the organisers of the Aoniu Fundrasing. Photo/Facebook


Tonga’s Rugby World Cup team players are yet to receive any of the money raised in Tonga as a donation for their representing the kingdom.

The Aoniu Fundraising Committee said the money must be paid to the ʻIkale Tahi team members as soon as possible.

However, it has been revealed that not all donations promised to the fundraising committee have been paid.

The Committee announced in the weeks ahead of the tournament that they would organise a dinner to raise money to help the boys and their families while they were in England.

A function was held at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall on September 11, with 10 seat tables going for TP$500, or TP$1000 if they were hosted by a member of the royal family or a former ʻIkale Tahi player.

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But Tonga Rugby Union Chair ʻEpeli Taione revealed to Kaniva News yesterday the money had not yet been paid to the players.

The money was set to be given as a bonus after the ʻIkale Tahi’s match with Argentina or New Zealand, but “since we blew out, we will probably give it this week as a thank you sweetener,” Taione said.

Some people who had promised to donate to the  fundraising dinner by either attending it or buying tables had yet to pay up.

“There is (sic) people who haven’t pay (sic) up their tables but they will give out this week and they are the most credible people I know,” Taione said.

After the fundraising Taione wrote on his Facebook page that the Aoniu Fundraising Committee had raised TP$75,919 (US$34,645.64/NZ$52,431.42). He then divided the money by 32, the number of the ʻIkale Tahi players and said each one should get TP$2380 each.

It was not clear whether the TP$75,919 reported by Taione was cash collected before and on the night of the fundraising dinner or whether it included the money that had been promised, but not yet paid.

The ʻIkale Tahi coach Mana ‘Otai  said he did not know whether or not the money had been paid to the boys because the arrangement was that the money would be paid directly to each player’s bank account.

Team captain Nili Latu was reluctant to respond to Kaniva News’ questions about the Aoniu donation. He said he needed time to talk to all the players before he could comment on whether or not they got the money.

Another fundraising event was held in Auckland to raise money for the Tongan team in the first week of September. It was organised by a group of Tongan ʻIkale Tahi supporters led by Kite Tuʻakalau, Melino Maka and ʻEseta Finau.

They raised more than NZ$20,000  and according to Tuʻakalau they had already paid the money to the ʻIkale Tahis, with each player receiving TP$800.

The main points

  • Tonga’s Rugby World Cup team players have not received any of the money raised in Tonga as a donation for their representing the kingdom.
  • The Aoniu Fundraising Committee said the money must be paid to the ‘Ikale Tahi team members as soon as possible.
  • Tonga Rugby Union Chair ʻEpeli Taione revealed to Kaniva News yesterday the money had not yet been paid to the players.
  • The money was set to be given as a bonus after the ʻIkale Tahiʻs match with Argentina or New Zealand, but “since we blew out, we will probably give it this week as a thank you sweetener,” Taione said.

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