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Cyclone Gabrielle fundraising appeal tops $50k

Thursday 6 April 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National

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Cyclone  Gabrielle  fundraising  appeal tops $50k
23032022 Supporters of the Cyclone Gabrielle relief fund meet at the National Auditorium. Photo: Matthew Littlewood.

“Operation Tauturu Aotearoa” fundraising organiser Norman George confirmed the amount, which was raised through several events, including a radiothon and a special charity dinner at Coastal Kitchen, and told Cook Islands News that more money was expected to roll on in.

“We’re still expecting to receive money from some people that made commitments to us,” George said.

“Once it’s all collected, we will present it to the New Zealand High Commission in the form of a cheque from the Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI).”

George said so far, the committee had raised more than $50,000.

“It’s been a remarkable effort, and a credit to the people of the Cook Islands,” he said.

George said he was delighted with the business community who “really came to support us”.

“Our executive fundraising committee of 12 people have been tireless, nothing has been too big or too small for them,” he said.

George said the event at Coastal Kitchen was the highlight, not least for the message of support by New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.

“We are all family when it comes to Aotearoa,” George said.

George said he was still hoping the government would also donate towards the initiative.

 “We’ve had nothing from them so far, it’s so disappointing,” he said.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said it was fantastic that people had come out in support of the Cyclone Gabrielle fundraiser.

However, when asked about whether the Government would support the efforts with donations in kind, PM Brown said it was not going to donate “whatever meagre resources we do have” towards the appeal.

“But the Cook Islands people have come out in force for this, which is tremendous,” Brown said.

It is estimated the total damage incurred by Cyclone Gabrielle on New Zealand would be at least $13 billion.

Cyclone Gabrielle ripped through the North Island of New Zealand during February. It also caused 11 deaths, which was also the deadliest cyclone and weather event overall to hit New Zealand since Cyclone Giselle in 1968.