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Tongans trapped in New Zealand since the start of lockdown are finally going home

Tanoa Hotel
Source: RNZ Pacific

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — Air New Zealand’s first flight to Tonga since the Covid-19 lockdown has taken off on Tuesday morning.

Flight NZ970 was due to land at Fua’amotu International Airport at 1.30pm local time.

It is the first Air NZ repatriation flight of Tongans since border restrictions were introduced.

Air New Zealand Senior Manager of Pacific Islands Brent Roxburgh said many Tongans have been stuck in NZ since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year.

”Air New Zealand is pleased to be working closely with the Tongan government to help facilitate those wanting to return home,” said Roxburgh.

Tonga has so far remained Covid free. Passengers on the flight needed to prove they didn’t have coronavirus by taking a test four days before travel. On landing in Tonga, they will also have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Air New Zealand is hoping to add more repatriation flights and ask those wishing to travel to register their interest at

Read more at Stuff New Zealand