A seven-strong delegation from Tonga is currently stuck in New Zealand due to an increased COVID lockdown ©Getty Images

A six strong delegation managed by the Tonga Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) that competed at Tokyo 2020 faces a long wait in New Zealand after their flight home was cancelled due to a change in COVID-19 restrictions.

The group - which includes Malia Paseka, the country's first female taekwondo fighter, TASANOC secretary general Takitoa Taumoepeau, Chef de Mission Amanaki Fakakovikaetau, swim official Vila Day and athletics coach Siueni Filimone - completed the 14-day quarantine in Auckland but have been unable to fly to Tonga due to lockdown in the region.

They were initially booked on to an Air New Zealand flight home from Auckland to Nuku'alofa but that was cancelled.

It is unsure when they will be able to depart with flights grounded under lockdown restrictions.

"They informed us it would be just a one week delay or postponement but I guess they were banking on the alert level going down," Taumoepeau said.

"But if the Auckland region seems to be not improving every day I think we may be looking here at a couple of weeks or even longer."

The majority of the delegation are staying with relatives and Taumoepeau claimed they are well fed and happy.

Tongan taekwondo fighter Pita Taufatofua caused a stir when he carried the flag at the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images
Tongan taekwondo fighter Pita Taufatofua caused a stir when he carried the flag at the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

New Zealand is currently in lockdown after seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible delta variant. 

Auckland and the neighbouring region of Northland will remain in the level four lockdown, while regions further south are due to move to level three from Tuesday (August 31).

Day planned to go on holiday to Queenstown, where she is currently stuck after being unable to return due to the enforced lockdown.

When they are able to fly home to Tonga, the group faces a 21-day quarantine.

"We will be doing another 21 days at home and we said to ourselves, 'it would be nice to get out of this 14 day quarantine [in New Zealand] and catch the flight back home and do our 21 and that's it' but things change and we all know that anything can happen during the COVID," Taumoepeau said.

"Whatever rules or laws we put down it can change within a second so we accept it but we were not expecting it so we will have to tag along I guess."

In all, Tonga had six athletes compete at Tokyo 2020 but did not win a medal.