Manuka celebrates launch of ‘make-over’ project

NUKU’ALOFA – February 2, 2018: 3.15pm (Environment): The villagers of Manuka, here on Tongatapu, today celebrated the launching of their beachfront ‘make-over’.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of MEIDECC Mr Paula Ma’u was on hand to launch the project.

Mr Paula Ma’u, Environment officials and guests at the beachfront in Manuka. Photos: ENVIRONMENT NEWS

Mr Ma’u told the villagers that assistance given was to help them retain their beachfront, which has received a lot of battering from nature over the years.

“The assistance was approved because we know there is a need for us to help the community through the project,” Mr Ma’u said.

And while speaking at the launch Mr Ma’u told the villagers that works to reclaim their foreshore and build a seawall will start next week.

That foreshore reconstruction work will cover approximately three (3) kilometres from Manuka to Talafo’ou.

That will be funded by the Climate Change Department funds.

Manuka Town Officer Taniela Takitaki had requested R2R’s assistance for the beachfront ‘make-over’ through the Community Management Committee (CMC) meeting last year.

“We are thankful to the Ministry of MEIDECC for their assistance in mobilising resources through their R2R project,” Mr Takitaki said at the launch today.

“The assistance will ensure we are able to keep our beachfront, which also has a lot of history for us.”

The villagers, on the Eastern tip of the main island here in Tonga, have been fighting daily to save their waterfront.

To them the waterfront, called Hemo and Tava, has alot of history – and shares a close link to Samoa.

The ‘make-over’ of their waterfront will ensure they are able to keep that piece of history with them for some time to come.

The temporary sand walls along the Manuka beachfront.

The village project was supported by the R2R Project, which funded the carting of stones, gravel and sand to the waterfront area to help build temporary breakers around the waterfront area.The continuing intensity of storm surges and cyclones, change in surface currents, and so forth has contributed to the waterfront getting eroded — now with the water reaching right up to the village road during high tides.

Along the way it has slowly eaten away at tree roots – with some trees now uprooted.

As the request made by the Manuka community, through their town officer, was aligned with the objectives of the R2R Project, the funding was able to be made available.

Around $11,000 Pa’anga was contributed to this village project.

In attendance at the launch today were senior officials from the Department of Environment, including the Director of Environment, Ms Lupe Matoto and Tonga R2R project coordinator, Ms Ta’hirih Hokafonu.

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