Local community organises fundraising for support

Waitaki Tongan Community member Mele Finau Huakau gets down to work at a car wash in Oamaru on Saturday.

The community group held a car wash, opposite Orana Park, to fundraise for their community in Tonga, seven days after the volcanic eruption and tsunami which caused significant damage to the island.

There was a steady flow of vehicles at the car wash and members of the Tongan community came out to help.

A combined Tongan church service, organised by the Rev Lakepa Finau, had been scheduled for yesterday afternoon. However Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group manager Hana Halalele said it had been cancelled due to the announcement about moving into the Red traffic light setting.

Mrs Halalele said she and others, including Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, had been invited to speak at the event. Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio had also sent a message of support.

Mrs Halalele said Pasifika Safer Shelter Trust, Pacific Island Network, and OPICG would work with the Tongan community to plan how they best could help.

“From my perspective it would be great to try to give support to the local families affected as they will be sending remittances back home to their families to help with the rebuild process,” she said.

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