Staff from Sutton Park school in Auckland has  presented a container of goods donated in the wake of Cyclone Gita  to Queen Sālote College in Tonga.

Sutton Park and Queen Sālote are sister schools.

The Sutton team was welcomed by Queen Sālote College principal Rev Dr. ‘Asinate Sāmate.

The goods were officially presented at a function at Queen Sālote College school hall attended by former Minister of Education Rev. Dr. Tēvita Hala Palefau, who led the opening prayer.

“The warm singing and various voice sections from the girls filled the hall which reminded me of traditional hymn singing in the islands, to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for his continuous love and protection over us all,” Sutton’s Deputy Principal Vaitimu Togi Lemanu said.

Lemanu said in his speech at the function that it was not surprising Captain Cook called Tonga the Friendly Islands.

Activities at the presentation ceremony included a concert performance by the Queen Salote brass band.

Board of Trustee Chairperson, Ofa Kātoa, officially presented the keys for the container to Rev. Palefau.

Lemanu said the singing and the soloists who performed lifted the spirits of everyone in the school hall.

The six metre container was filled with donations including computer desks donated by some Catholic Schools, kitchen utensils provided by Sky City, sporting materials, electronic whiteboards donated by Westpac and water donated by Coca Cola.

Various donors also helped fill the container including parents whose children were studying at the school’s Tongan Bilingual unit and parents of the Rumaki reo classes, Samoan bilingual unit and the mainstream classes.

The Sutton team which went to Tonga included the chair of the Board of Trustees, Ofa Kātoa, Sia Ua Tongan bilingual team leader  Maliana Taufalele and Apitanga Mafi.

Mafi described the support and donations for the container as “astounding.”

Mafi said the project to send a container full of donated goods in the wake of Cyclone Gita came from Sutton principal Fa’atili Iosua Esera and the Tongan bilingual unit, Sia Ua.

Sia Ua is a Tongan name given to the Sutton’s Tongan–English language unit by Princess Melenaite Siu’ilikutapu.

Tongan teachers at Suttons were: Maliana Taufalele, ‘Apitanga Kailea Mafi, Lineni Paea, Peta Mo’ungātonga, Simaima Fīnau, Luseane Kaifā and Fiona Filipe. Assistant teachers were:  ‘Ofa Hausia, Loma Tau, ‘Alilia Tāufa, ‘Ofa Lapa and Lineni Hafoka . Trustees Board members were ‘Ofa Kātoa and Rev.  Havea Fanga’i’uiha.

Sutton’s classes visited Queen Sālote in 2015.