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Goff delighted by public support for Niue

Goff delighted by public support for Niue

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today welcomed continuing efforts by New Zealanders to raise funds for Niue, which was devastated by Cyclone Heta in early January.

The latest fund-raising effort is the most ambitious yet, aiming to raise $1 million by holding Pacific Idol competitions in south and west Auckland shopping malls over the next three days.

The contests are being organised by Sir Howard Morrison and will be hosted by members of the Auckland Warriors, several TV personalities, Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis and Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey.

The first Pacific Idol contest will be held tomorrow at Manukau's Westfield Mall, with 12.30pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm sessions, and then on Friday (the same session times) and Saturday (12.30pm and 4.30pm only) at Westfield Mall in Henderson. Shoppers will be invited to make gold-coin donations.

The Warriors will also take up a gold coin collection when they play St George-Illawarra at Ericcson Stadium on March 20.

"I congratulate Sir Howard and the Warriors for the commitment they have shown, and for their energy and efforts to help. Niue is a small country where some people lost everything in the absence of insurance protection being available for cyclones," Mr Goff said. "The New Zealand public has responded generously from the moment the cyclone struck and public donations are already in excess of $100,000. Ngati Porou set a generous tone by raising $53,000 within a week of the cyclone, and Niu FM and Radio 531 PI have both raised over $30,000 each. There have also been countless other stories of generosity up and down the country.

"All five relief flights that the government has sent to Niue also found room for clothing and food donated by New Zealanders, as well as skilled tradesmen who have volunteered their time to help restore the island's shattered infrastructure.

"Niue's Premier, Young Vivian, has passed on to me his personal gratitude and that of his people for the support they have been shown by ordinary New Zealanders," Mr Goff said.

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