4 Sep 2015

Tools to Take Home

From Country Life, 9:36 pm on 4 September 2015

IMG(Above) Alphose Metmet and Willy George with some of the tools that will be sent home to Vanuatu. (Below) John David and Tevita Sepeti Tafau have been raising money to help buy supplies to rebuild their communities.

Katikati locals are about to fill a second shipping container with building materials and household goods and send it to Vanuatu to support RSE workers and their families whose homes were damaged and lives disrupted by Cyclone Pam.

When the Cyclone ravaged the islands in March, 35 Ni Vanuatu were employed by Aongatete Coolstores to work in the kiwifruit industry.  

The packhouse manager Clive Exelby says more were due to arrive in time for the kiwifruit season.

He says those workers had to make the tough decision whether to come to New Zealand to earn money for the re-build or to stay to comfort and help their families. Most decided to come.

Clive Exelby says the community soon swung into action. Roofing iron and timber were donated or bought at significantly reduced rates, and the word went out for tools.

He says the many retired people who live in Katikati were delighted to clear out their garages and workshops and donate tools to the people of Vanuatu

John David and his wife Miriam came from Vanuatu to work for Aongatete Coolstores soon after the cyclone, leaving their five children in the care of other family members. Their house was damaged and still needs to be fixed.  

John says he really appreciates how the community has rallied behind the workers. Its support means the money he has earned in New Zealand can go to his children's education rather than into repairing his house.

"Lots of us come for school fee. That's the main thing that we are here for. Back home it's hard to get money..but  we are here lucky. We get the money enough for the family and for the school fee."