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Proceeds Of Tsunami Benefit Presented To Samoan

Proceeds Of Tsunami Benefit Presented To Samoan Consul General

Auckland, New Zealand, October 21, 2009 - Representatives of the Samoa Tsunami 2009 Appeal Charitable Trust attended a meeting of the NZRL Board of Directors at NZRL headquarters in Penrose today, for the presentation of a $31,000 donation toward the rebuilding efforts in the disaster ravaged areas of Samoa.

The Trust delegation was headed by Samoan Consul General Faolotoi Reupena Pogi, who was supported by JR Pereira, Judge Ida Malosi, and former All Black Vaiga Tuigamala.

Tuigamala and former All Black team mate Michael Jones have fronted the Trust’s efforts to date, which have included the shipping of container loads of goods to the islands in addition to the cash contributions.

The $31,000 was raised through the ‘League 4 Samoa’ event at Mt Smart Stadium on 10 October, when the best Samoa based players (Toa Samoa Domestic) played the best of New Zealand’s local talent (Bartercard Premiership Selection).

NZRL Chairman Scott Carter presented the cheque saying that “New Zealand Rugby League was honoured to have had the opportunity to host the event in support of a cause that had touched the lives of so many in both countries”.

“When Toa Samoa advised NZRL management that despite the tragedy, they wished to proceed with the tour” he said, “We knew we had a unique opportunity to connect the Samoan and New Zealand communities”.

NZRL CEO Jim Doyle confirmed that in the short space of one week from the disaster, interest in the event had “snowballed” to make it the first major fund raising effort of its type in New Zealand.

“We were inundated with offers of event support during that week and are very grateful to all of those that helped to make it such a special day” said Doyle.

Early support came from the Auckland Regional Council who waived venue hire fees including support services from Mt Smart management. This included a concession by Spotless Catering to allow The Mad Butcher to donate sausage sales and prompted a cash contribution from Peter Charles Leitch QSM himself in the amount of $7,000.

Long time NZRL business partner Bartercard NZ Ltd donated $10,000 Trade Dollars to the Trust for use within their network of Bartercard businesses.

“Given the need for various goods to be sent to Samoa in addition to cash, this contribution from Bartercard will be of immense benefit” said Doyle, in acknowledgement of Bartercard NZ CEO Paul Bolte, also in attendance.

Maori Television’s decision to broadcast the match as a delayed offering the following day ensured that Auckland based fans were encouraged to attend the live event but also gave the broadcaster the chance to promote the Trust’s 0900 donation number during the two hours of delayed coverage.

Doyle also praised the contribution of the Pacific Music Awards Trust who coordinated all of the artists who performed on the day and NZ Police Recruiting who provided all staging and sound requirements.

“The musical contribution to the day helped to create a fantastic spectacle that will be remembered by everyone that was there, for a very long time”

“A women’s 9-a-side match featuring Fetu Samoa and the inclusion of Ruben Wiki as Toa Samoa’s guest player also added to the festival atmosphere” said Doyle.

Wiki was also in attendance today for the presentation and spoke of how proud he was to have contributed to the event and to fulfil his last remaining Rugby League goal. “I always hoped that one day I would wear a Samoan jersey to honour my grandparents... so I’m grateful I got the chance to fulfil my dream”.

Samoan Consul General Mr Pogi responded to the presentation by commenting on how his office and the Trust had been “overwhelmed by the generosity of New Zealand communities” adding that they were “touched and moved by the efforts of organisations like New Zealand Rugby League”.


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