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Fire service boosted with $600 donation

Monday 13 March 2023 | Written by Joanne Holden | Published in Local, National

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Fire service boosted with $600 donation
Teimorimotia Volunteer Fire Service fireman Steve Happ, left, and fire chief Alistair Macquarie receive a donation of $300 from Paul’s Rarotonga Hot Sauce owner Paul Lynch. Photo: Supplied/ 23031219

An ongoing fundraiser for Rarotonga’s underfunded volunteer fire crews is picking up steam again, after the dearth of visitors to the island over the summer season put a damper on the appeal.

Paul Lynch, of Paul’s Rarotonga Hot Sauce, has been donating the proceeds from a flavour dedicated to the Teimorimotia and Puaikura volunteer fire services, Raro Fire, in $600 chunks since 2020.

For the first time in about four months, Lynch presented a $300 cheque to the Teimorimotia crew on Friday. He plans to give a further $300 to the Puaikura crew this week.

“It’s been a bit quiet with tourism so I haven’t been able to make donations, but it’s getting better,” Lynch said.

“Donations can be every two to three months when the tourists are around.”

Lynch had donated “a few thousand dollars” to the fire crews through his hot sauce, with the latest offering before this week taking place around October.

“It’s been a struggle, but we’re starting to see more tourists.”

Lynch said the special flavour – made from dragonfruit and habanero chilli, and “two flames” on the hotness scale – was chosen by the fire crews.

“I named this one ‘Raro Fire’ because that’s one of the names locals call the fire service here.”

Lynch called the fire crews “gutsy” and “worthy of admiration and support”.

“I admire the work of the volunteers, men and women. To see them doing it in the heat, it’s incredible,” he said.

“I wanted to give back. Those guys are just doing it for us, our community. They don’t get a lot of funding, so they rely on the generosity of others.”

While the emergency vehicles used by the fire crews were either bought under the Japan Grassroots Fund or donated by New Zealand, the money from the hot sauce helped buy smaller equipment and consumables.

Lynch hoped to inspire others to donate, not just to the fire crews but to other causes that inspired them.

“People can find their own way of giving. I also support Te Are Manu (vet clinic) with my live Elvis show.

“I did a Tom Jones show at The Islander in 2020, after the border closed and the vets in New Zealand couldn’t get in with supplies. Elvis made an appearance for the finale. We raised $21,000.”