NZ Community in Vietnam Raises $100,000 for Earthquake
New Zealand Community in Vietnam Raises $100,000 for Christchurch Earthquake Relief
HO CHI MINH CITY (7 March 2011) — Vietnam’s small but passionate New Zealand community held a successful fundraiser in Ho Chi Minh City Thursday night, raising almost NZD100,000 (USD 73,750) for the Christchurch Earthquake relief effort.
Nearly 500 eager supporters attended a live auction, charity raffle and social evening at the Caravelle Hotel, with prizes donated by a range of companies based in Vietnam, and from the expatriate Kiwi community itself.
“It really is hard to comprehend the generosity of the people of this city and at such short notice. The hard work, commitment and work on the midnight oil to make this possible is beyond belief”, said John Gardner, General Manager of the Caravelle and a proud Cantabrian.
Mr Gardner, who lost a dear friend in the earthquake, joined a group of enthusiastic Kiwis and their supporters to organise and host the event, which will be one of several held by the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam over the coming weeks.
“We feel far from home when tragedy strikes, but events such as this bring the whole expatriate and Vietnamese communities together”, said Warrick Cleine, Chairman of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. “Our desire to raise funds, and our need to bring everyone together to commemorate this tragedy made this an essential event”.
Following the earthquake, Mr. Cliene said the New Zealand Chamber was quickly contacted by friends at the Australian Chamber of Commerce with an offer of support, fresh from their Queensland Flood Relief effort. Many other members of Vietnam’s diverse community groups also checked in with offers of support.
New Zealand’s Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Graham Sims paid tribute to those lost in the quake, followed by a video message from Bob Parker, the Mayor of Christchurch. A message of support from the Prime Minister, John Key, was read to the crowd, following a minute of silence to remember the victims of the quake.
“I have never been prouder to be a Kiwi than I am tonight”, concluded Mark Fraser, a prominent lawyer based in Ho Chi Minh City, and a significant contributor to the success of the evening.