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Kiwi ingenuity highlights fundraising efforts

Media Release
For Immediate Release: 14 January 2005

Kiwi ingenuity highlights fundraising efforts and aid delivery

Oxfam New Zealand’s tsunami appeal reached $1.2million today and will grow further as contributions from individuals, businesses and institutions continue to arrive, raising further funds for Oxfam’s immediate relief and long-term reconstruction work in the tsunami-affected region.

“New Zealanders have shown an incredible generosity of spirit both in terms of money donated and in offers of help,” said Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, Barry Coates.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that money, goods, services and the right personnel reach people in the greatest need at the right time”.

In typical Kiwi fashion, many of the donations have been inspired efforts. These include a sponsored attempt for a Guinness World Record for the 24-hour distance record on a unicycle; an online auction of a home-cooked gourmet dinner for four; a neighbourhood street-stall by a group of Wellington school children; an elderly couple donating their week’s superannuation cheque.

Around the country, hundreds of supporters have been rattling collections tins on the street, in shopping malls and at public events and distributing collections tins to their local retailers, while businesses around the country have also found creative ways to contribute to the Oxfam Tsunami Emergency Appeal. Air New Zealand is auctioning flights on Trade Me, Body Shop staff are donating an hour’s salary, to be matched dollar for dollar by the company; and many large retail chains have collected on behalf of Oxfam.

The response to the appeal has been so unprecedented that extra support has been found amongst the volunteers to help with fielding phone calls, processing donations, updating the website, and assisting with the overall coordination of the appeal.

Oxfam's humanitarian effort is well under way – and Kiwi ingenuity has featured here as well. Queenstown engineer, Les Collins, currently working to restore water supply to the town of Meulaboh, featured in a New York Times article which described the repair work facing Collins as “unpredictable, often frustrating problems whose solutions require the improvisational skills of a jazz master”. Before the earthquake and tsunami devastated the area, Meulaboh was a town the size of Hamilton. 30,000 of the 70,000 people lost their lives. Within hours of arriving at Meulaboh, Collins and Wellingtonian Dave Neru had already improvised a repair strategy for the town’s main plant.

Oxfam is working to provide water, sanitation, food, shelter and other essential relief items in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and elsewhere, and looking to help people rebuild their lives. Across the tsunami-affected region, Oxfam is already helping 320,000 people and gearing up to help 600,000. It continues to send supplies and staff to the region. /ENDS

Editor’s note: All corporate assistance has been acknowledged on our website.


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