Moana Pasifika and Chiefs pre-season match raises more than $25,000 for Tongan relief efforts



Tuʻu fakataha mo Tonga – Stand Alongside Tonga

Moana Pasifika raised NZ$25,000 from their fundraising game against the Chiefs last weekend, despite their being no fans at Mount Smart Stadium due to COVID19 restrictions.

A fundraising drive during Moana Pasifika’s Super Rugby debut raised more than $25,000 towards relief efforts in Tonga, after the island nation was devastated by a tsunami last month.

Several members of the Moana Pasifika team were affected by the natural disaster, with many having friends and family back in Tonga. It had been a motivating factor for the side leading into their pre-season clash against the Chiefs on Friday night, with coach Aaron Mauger saying earlier in the week that the team carried those impacted in their hearts.

While fans were not allowed to attend the match at Mt Smart Stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions, prompts were shown throughout the broadcast with the website viewers could visit or a number they could message to donate towards the cause.

“I’m really proud of our community for supporting such a special thing for us,” Moana Pasifika and former Wallabies first five-eighth Christian Leali’ifano said.

“Obviously with the tsunami and the pandemic, our loved ones over there aren’t doing so well. It makes us appreciate what we have here so anything we can give to help support them and get them a little bit of positive light is going to hopefully go a long way.

“They’re a nation full of faith and family, and we’re similar, so we’re really proud that the community got behind it and hopefully they continue to get behind such an important cause.”

The match itself was a rather stark introduction to Super Rugby for the side, as the Chiefs ran away 61-7 winners.

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