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How Tonga Aids New Zealand

Appendix 1 — Some Official Tongan Comments on Migration

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Appendix 1

Some Official Tongan Comments on Migration

King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV

“I am sure that it is already evident to you, Mr Speaker, and members of the House, that even with the employment schemes for Tongan nationals overseas, it is apparent that the time has come where we must develop local industries to make jobs available for the unemployed, particularly those without land. Provided sufficient capital can be found, the proposed scheme by the Indian Government for a complex of small-scale industries should be encouraged.”

Hon. Ma'afu, Speaker of the House

“It is our expectation that the behaviour of Tongan nationals overseas will not jeapor-
more opportunities being created for Tonga and its people. It would be gratifying also
if the proposed industrial schemes by the Indian Government can be brought to a successful conclusion.”

Hon. Tuita, Acting Prime Minister 1972

“During the year further groups of workers travelled to New Zealand on the continuing joint New Zealand/Tonga Governments Employment Scheme, whereby Tongans are assisted to travel to New Zealand and work in industries in the Hutt Valley for a period of six months. The outstanding success of this scheme augers well for the future when it is hoped increased numbers of Tongans will be allowed to join this scheme.”

Editorial, Tonga Chronicle

“The Tonga and New Zealand Governments Workers Scheme continues to benefit Tonga, in spite of several implications that New Zealand is exploting Tongan workers to offset a labour shortage situation. All we know is, the scheme is pouring thousands of dollars into Tonga, and the moral complications of the scheme fall into the background.

In addition, the three months visitors permit to New Zealand has also enabled thousands of Tongan nationals to find employment in New Zealand, rightly or wrongly, and hence sent thousands more dollars into Tonga.

On the whole, the contribution by workers in New Zealand, whether they are there legally or otherwise, is indeed a tremendous boost to the Kingdom's economy.”

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The main street in Nuku'alofa

The main street in Nuku'alofa

Editorial, Tonga Chronicle

“Over the past two weeks we have had very disturbing reports on islanders, particularly Tongans, who have appeared in courts for either failing to produce their passports or over-
their temporary permits in New Zealand. This followed a series of dawn raids by
police and immigration officials to find Pacific Islanders who are in New Zealand illegally.

Only last week also, the New Zealand Minister of Immigration, Mr Fraser Colman, ordered a halt to these raids and said that such actions were ‘alien to the New Zealand way of life’ and he believes that ‘these so-called dawn raids do no reflect credit on anyone’.

On the other hand, I feel that New Zealand, in attempting to create a favourable image in the eyes of her Pacific neighbours, and the world at large, may be unconsciously encouraging ‘overstayers’ to continue breaking the law. And I refer here to the law of a
country that is offering economic assistance of a tremendous proportion to Tonga, and which laws we in Tonga should respect.

I'm sure that no-one is much more aware of our precarious economic position and the fact that much of the village developments are credited to New Zealand earned money, than the New Zealanders themselves. If this is so, then I feel we can only show our appreciation in the simplest manner, i.e. respect of the laws of the country to which we are

Admittedly, many find the three months permit far too short to accumulate a sizeable fund to be of any use and make the trip to New Zealand worthwhile. Neverthe-
, there are those who arrive in New Zealand with a three month permit and straight away make a genuine attempt to legally extend the permit to six months. Those who page 17 have participated in the Government's six month work scheme must vouch for the fact that in six months, one can return to Tonga with enough in his pockets to be able to do something worthwhile in Tonga. It will involve a certain amount of discipline, but would be necessary if one has a firm objective.

But I contend that the majority upon arriving in New Zealand and suddenly finding himself in the middle of the bright lights, the lure of the big city and all the good things of life never experienced before, plus of course handling a large sum of money for the first time, there are many things forgotten. Among these are the fact that a family re-
at home and the reason for going to New Zealand was perhaps to work and get some
money to build a house in Tonga. These ideals are all forgotten with the result that the law is broken, the family is forgotten and New Zealand has to create a favourable image to make it easier for the law breakers.

It is time that we seriously take a loot at the situation and correct it from this end, from Tonga itself and by Tongans, and who knows, New Zealand might abolish the three months visa altogether, and create another uproar in the Pacific. Are we not perhaps relying too much on New Zealand sympathy?

Bishop Finau, Bishop of Tonga

Dawn raids against Pacific Islanders
who have overstayed their entry permits were last week condemned as ‘shameful’ by the Bishop of Tonga. Bishop Finau
hit out at the raids because of the scattering effect they had on members of the
Tongan community in this country.

Bishop Finau

Bishop Finau

“I have been told that there are some-
like 8,000 Tongans at present in New
New Zealand. And I am sure that a great number of them will be overstaying
their three month visitor permits.” Bishop Finau pointed out that some of these
people were literally ‘on the run’. “They are very suspicious that people will tell on them.”

The bishop said that some of these people might have family or personal problems, and he now had the greatest difficulty making contact and assisting them.

“A great number of people in Tonga will be surprised by this sort of thing happening in New Zealand.” He said that permanent Tongan residents in this country would certainly not be happy about the raids.

The bishop said his complaint about the three month visitor permit system was New Zealand's hypocrisy. It is assumed that people coming here with visitors permits do not page 18 work, but the bishop noted that “nothing is done if they work”.

“The labour force is needed. If you close your doors, your industries will feel it quite a bit. But they don't earn very much,” said the bishop, “and this tends to make people overstay.”

Bishop Finau told Zealandia how work in New Zealand gives Tongans a chance to break out of the feudal sustem which exists in their country. “By working in this country our people are able to get a little capital, which will set them up with a little land or a little business in Tonga.”

He said that the present power structure in Tonga was the “biggest hindrance to development. When they get work in New Zealand it is a great relief to them, At home they
have no work and they have no land.”

The bishop said that he only wished people in this country realised that his people were being kept down by an “oppressive structure”.

As a solution to the present problem Bishop Finau said he would like to see six-month work permits available to Tongans or a quota system, as is operating at present for entries from Western Samoa.

The bishop stressed that the situation needed to be tackled ‘urgently’. “New Zealand is a rich country, and the people do not see this urgency.”

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In a letter to Joris de Bres, April 29 1974.

Many thanks for your letter of April 8 and the paper clippings. We are most grateful for the wonderful interest CARE is showing towards our Tongan workers in New Zealand.

To answer the questions in your letter:


What is your Church's attitude to Tongan migration to New Zealand – both as regards temporary and permanent migration?


Temporary migration:

We would like to see working permits of six months or more being granted. We would like to see that our people are prepared for such migration through:


Pre-orientation course,


Personnel available in New Zealand to help our people as they actually experience life in New Zealand.


Post-orientation course in Tonga when they return.

Work and accommodation should be arranged prior to entry to New Zealand.


Permanent migration:

The right to migration should be given to people who genuinely endeavour to develop themselves in accordance with a life befitting their human dignity but cannot do so because a) lack of material resources, e.g. lack of land, lack of work opportunities, b) unjust and oppressive power structures that militate against their human dignity.


What link do you feel should exist between the New Zealand's migrant labour policy and the policy of Pacific development aid?


It should be part of the New Zealand Aid programme to sponsor and facilitate migration, both temporary and permanent, cf. answers to No. 1. above.

New Zealand could use Aid money to build hostels to accommodate migrants and these hostels should have a bicultural staff.
Population distribution in Tonga

Population distribution in Tonga

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New Zealand should be more open to receive export products on a trade basis.


New Zealand could set up various industries in the Islands – research always preceding – but with the conditions that local people would eventually take over the management and ownership. This would not then be an “extremen capitalistic” business venture but humanistic and Christian, to assist poor people.


What facilities are needed both in Tonga and New Zealand, to facilitate migration to New Zealand?


The question is somewhat covered by the foregoing answers to which I add: Reorien-
the Tongan Educational system, so that more emphasis is on technical and agricultural subjects. Education would then be more relevant to the need of our people now, and especially so, if Tonga moves into more intensive agriculture.


By so orienting education the people would be better equipped not only for life in Tonga Tonga, but also for migrant life in New Zealand.


New Zealand Aid could be directed to educational pursuits of this kind, rather than to academic subjects.

I am hoping to be in Auckland from May 10 to 20 and I hope to see you personally and perhaps we could talk these matters over.

In the meantime thank you again for your interest and promise of positive assistance.

Tonga Chronicle Editorial

The important topic of discussion today is the fate of illegal visitors, Fijian and Tongan, to Australia and New Zealand respectively. The Australian and New Zealand authorities have gone so far as to deport some of these illegal visitors.

Various organisations in both countries have made futile attempts to gain a reprieve for these ‘lawbreakers’. The New Zealand press reported that the Captain of the cruise ship ‘Ocean Monarch’ refused berth for 15 Tongans who were to have been deported. It is understood that a charity organisation had approached the Captain not to take part in actions that would reflect unfavourably on New Zealand.

No word has yet been received on the situation of 1500 or so Tongans loose in Auck-
as they flee to avoid the Immigration Officials.

It has now been confirmed that the New Zealand High Commissioner in Apia has issued instructions that as from April 1, they will not accept any more applications for visas to visit New Zealand, for two months. On top of that, no further action will be taken on the 6000 applications already lodged with either the local authorities or the High Com-
's office in Apia.

The New Zealand Government has deemed the situation serious enough to take this drastic step and to put a stop to Tongan exploitation of New Zealand's soft-heartedness. All because some Tongans got ‘lost’ in the good life of New Zealand and were unaware that they were breaking the law.

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The Royal palace is built out of New Zealand kauri

The Royal palace is built out of New Zealand kauri

The repercussion is now felt by the 6000 who wanted to enjoy the pleasures of a foreign country. I feel that the mild rejection of the New Zealand Government's rulings by some of the humanitarian organisations are being used by us Tongans to undermine our own disregard for the laws of that country.

The actions and sympathy of these organisations are much appreciated but I still maintain that it is high time we in Tonga realise we cannot improve our economic instability by breaking the laws of another country.

That is all there is to it. By breaking the law, the opportunity is now denied to thousands of intending visitors to New Zealand.

‘Do unto others what you would unto yourself.’