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New Zealand Charity Takes Centre Stage

New Zealand Charity Takes Centre Stage In Philippines Disaster Zone

Kiwi ingenuity and generosity was on full display in typhoon ravaged Tacloban in the Philippines last weekend.

Christchurch businessman, Phil Cooper, coordinated a free family Christmas concert in the heart of the disaster zone that was attended by more than 5000 grateful Filipinos.

“Cantabrians have a unique connection with the Philippines so it was a privilege to be able to deliver some joy and Christmas cheer to the battered residents of Tacloban,” said Cooper.

“A Christchurch kapa haka group supported a range of local artists to deliver several hours of entertainment and laughter in a carnival atmosphere.

“The concert contrasted the human and physical devastation all around us caused by Typhoon Haiyan and provided an important focus on the strength of the human spirit,” he said.

Cooper is Managing Director of BuildTech Holdings, a company that employs close to 80 Filipinos in its workforce involved in rebuilding Christchurch following the earthquakes. An estimated 6,000 Filipinos are working in Canterbury, many employed in the residential and commercial rebuild of the city.

“Not only do we share a common understanding of the destructive forces of nature, but we have a large Filipino workforce helping Canterbury recover,” said Cooper.

“The opportunity to reach out and contribute something special to the Philippines – in addition to huge public response of money, food and essential items from New Zealanders – was overwhelming,” he said.

BuildTech was supported by a number of Canterbury construction companies and by World Changing in funding the free concert in Tacloban and was also aided by the city Mayor’s office.

The full story of the Tacloban concert – and New Zealand giving back to the Philippines - will be featured on TV3’s 3rd Degree current affairs programme on Wednesday, December 18.


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