Fekitoa yet to hear from mum in Tonga after tsunami

Source: 1News

Former All Black Malakai Fekitoa has received some comfort from Tonga after last week's eruption and tsunami, but is still waiting to hear from his mother on one of the outer islands.

Malakai Fekitoa is tackled while representing Tonga at the Olympic Sevens qualifiers.

Tonga is slowly recovering from the volcanic eruption just over a week ago, which triggered a tsunami afterwards, that killed three and caused widespread damage.

Communications are yet to be fully re-established, meaning many like Fekitoa have been unable to call loved ones to ensure they're safe.

Fekitoa, who is currently playing for English club Wasps, revealed on social media he has managed to touch base with his sisters as connections slowly return to the island.

“Update from Tonga. The comms is back in the main land, managed to speak with my sisters and they’re all ok," he wrote.

Unfortunately, Fekitoa is yet to hear from others living in the outer islands, including his mother.

"Still waiting to hear from my mother and the rest of the family as still no connection to my island Ha’apai and the outer islands," he said.

Fekitoa has started up a crowdfund to raise money for Tonga, which has reached £49,000 [NZ$99,000] of his £50,000 goal thanks to over 1,700 donations.

"I am making this collection in first person cause I want to make sure that all the aid destined is received by the community," Fekitoa wrote on the GoFundMe page.

"We need to send essential products, so we will send as many containers as possible from Auckland, New Zealand to Tonga.

"No matter what kind of help you want to collaborate with, all types of help are appreciate it."

Fekitoa is one of many Pacific players who were ready to embrace World Rugby's eligibility law change, which will allow players to change allegiances if they were born in the country they want to represent or have a parent or grandparent born there.

Having previously played for the All Blacks, Fekitoa is now looking to play at the 2023 Rugby World Cup with Tonga's 'Ikali Tahi, a move he said he made for "the right reasons".

"There are a lot of Tongans in the current team and Samoans and they know what it is like. They know it is all about the families and the culture. I don't gain anything from going back - we don't get paid a lot of money or anything.

"But I am going for the right reason, to give back, and I think those guys are happy for me."