News Story

Fight Against Diabetes in Tonga Gets Turbo Boost

Turbo Touch Rugby—a new, fast-paced, hybrid game developed by Touch New Zealand—was introduced and enthusiastically received at Tonga High School recently. 


The sporting launch coincided with a donation of 200 desks and chairs by Rangitoto College and Northcote College in Auckland, New Zealand, with the help of partners LDS Charities (the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Furniture for Schools (FFS) Charitable Trust, and Pacific Assist Sports.


Representatives from New Zealand and Tonga joined in with students in a demonstration game at the government school situated in Tonga's capital, Nukuʻalofa. 

The game was watched by over 1,000 cheering students, school faculty and dignitaries including CEO of Tonga Netball, Mrs Salote Sisifa, members of the Parents and Teachers Association, and representatives from Rangitoto College and the Tonga Ministry of Education.

While grateful for the furniture, the school, along with the Ministry of Education representative Mr. Ponapate Taunisila, also expressed appreciation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ continued support of the Tongan government in its efforts to fight diabetes in the Pacific nation.

Jam-packed with action and perfect for all fitness levels and abilities, Turbo Touch is excellent for encouraging more physical activity, resulting in healthy minds and bodies, and helping reduce the incidence of diabetes. Last year TVNZ estimated that 15,000 Tongans out of a national population of 100,000 suffered from the disease.

Also participating on the day was Inoke Afeaki—a well-known international rugby icon in Tonga, having played for the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby competition, and professional teams in Japan, Wales and France.

Afeaki represented Tonga in four back-to-back Rugby World Cups, captaining the Tonga team at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, and in 2004 was the captain of the Pacific Islanders rugby union team that played a series of matches against southern nations. More recently he has been involved in the Tonga Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee and as technical director at the Singapore Rugby Union.

Pacific Assist representatives plan to take elite sportsmen and women into the schools to train and motivate the youth to be active and involved in sports.


Some of Pacific Assist’s own team members include New Zealand representative basketball player Brook Blair and Andrea (Andy) Morgan-Tafea, who has represented New Zealand in indoor netball, touch rugby and tag football. Andy will be one of the sport’s ambassadors, going into the schools and assisting the Tonga Netball Association and Tonga Rugby with the cutting-edge Altitude Training in preparation for their respective world cup clashes.


Andy is of Samoan heritage and is married to a Tongan, Pinomi Tafea, who is also an accomplished athlete of representative level in rugby league and tag football. As such they are a formidable force in the promotion of fitness and healthy living. 

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