Tonga Community Garden Project
Patangata is at the eastern end of Nuku’alofa and occupies a very low-lying strip of land. It is arguably the lowest socio-economic community of Tongatapu in Tonga. It developed as a result of people squatting in the area, so the dwellings are very small and made of poor-quality construction.
Although the village and esplanade are protected by a small sea wall, the village is often flooded during severe weather events, in particular the tsunami generated by the Tonga volcano of January 2022. Severe damage to the entire village occurred when the wave pushed in over the strip of land and continued into a mangrove swamp. Many homes were destroyed and possessions lost as a result.
The Salvation Army personnel visited the area to identify assistance needed, and residents advised that their gardens and topsoil were washed away. After consultation with the community leaders, the Patangata Garden Project was established to assist households to grow their own vegetable gardens by providing top soil, vegetable plants and tools (trowel and hoe). The households provide a fenced area for the top soil to be placed in, but they can care for the garden themselves once they have the resources to grow food.
Captain Faleata Leha, Tonga Region’s projects officer, is working with the community to offer support and meets regularly with the recipients.
Donations from the Tonga emergency relief fund have enabled projects like this to be undertaken to assist communities to recover from the effects of the disaster.
Footage filmed by International Development Officer Lt-Colonel Milton Collins of the devastation from the tsunami on the community of Patangata can be viewed below: