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International relations

Australia and New Zealand compete with China for Tonga influence

Neighboring countries send ships and aid to help nation after volcanic eruption

This photo from the window of a New Zealand Defence Force P-3K2 Orion surveillance flight shows heavy ash fall over Nomuka in Tonga.   © New Zealand Defence Force/Reuters

AUCKLAND -- Within a day of the massive volcanic eruption that rocked Tonga and severed the archipelago's communications with the rest of the world, a handful of countries vying for influence in the region pledged financial aid.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai, 60 km north of the capital Nuku'alofa, blew up on Saturday, sending tsunami waves across the Pacific and shock waves around the world.

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