Hope for another hands up for Christchurch firms

8:00 am on 4 July 2011

The organisers of an event to help quake-stricken Canterbury firms get back on their feet are hopeful it will be picked up in other centres.

Hands Up Wellington was formed by a group of Wellington firms in March to help Christchurch companies whose premises are out of action, by selling stock for them.

Hundreds of volunteers and businesses pitched in to help at the expo at the weekend, attended by an estimated 10,000 people.

One of the 70 exhibitors to show their wares was contemporary jeweller, Deanna Gracie, who lost two business premises in the last nine months.

Earthquake damage forced her out of her base at the Arts Centre, and her business was installed in new premises for only two and a half weeks before the 22 February quake struck. At present she is focussing on internet sales, which had previously been a sideline.

Sirens Wines' vineyard in Waipara wasn't affected by the quakes, but director Louise Wedlake says the business has changed entirely. It lost customers such as restaurants in the central business district of Christchurch and Lyttelton and corporate clients, and did not trade at all for nine weeks.

KPMG partner Malcolm Bruce who is on the board of Hands Up, says the event provided much-needed hope for quake-stricken firms.