SHARE
Some of the junior school pupils at Dorie School taking part in a school-wide fundraiser to raise money for the people of Tonga affected by the devastating volcanic eruption of Tonga Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai. Photo Toni Williams.

Fundraising efforts for the people of Tonga affected by the volcanic eruption of Tonga Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai last month have ramped up in Mid Canterbury.

Many Mid Cantabrians have been buying much-needed food and beverage items to send in a container to the island country and others have been doing their bit to help, including pupils at Dorie School who raised $156 through donations and dressing up in their school house colours.

A community fundraising barbecue with home baking and live music is also being planned at the Ashburton Farmers Market at the West Street car park in downtown Ashburton this Saturday.

It runs from 9am until noon.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to ship donated supplies to Tonga.

As well as donated baking, organisers also have the support of ANZCO Foods lending a barbecue and donating meat.

Ashburton accountant Kirsty Naish is on the organising committee and said the appeal had been flooded with donations.

“The response so far has been amazing, we just need Ashburtonians to come down to support us on Saturday.”

Those who can’t get to the barbecue but want to help with a donation can put money into an account specially set up for the Tonga’s fundraising efforts.

The account is in the name of KM Naish and the account number is 06-0837-0216890-05 (use your name as reference).

Ms Naish was part of a similar fundraiser in Ashburton back in December 2019 by the local Samoan community and supporters to help those affected by a measles epidemic.

The Tongan volcanic eruption happened on January 15 sending a plume of ash, gas and steam 20 kilometres into the atmosphere before settling, and generated a 1.2m tsunami that crashed ashore in coastal areas of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa.

It has left many Tongans displaced and without basic living necessities.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano is located about 30km southeast of Fonuafo’ou island in Tonga. It had been active from December 20, 2021, but was declared dormant on January 11.