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Tools for Tonga . . . Tonga is still need of farming equipment and tractors as it rebuilds, Pasifika Safe Shelter Trust chairman Peter Rodwell says. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

Farm equipment, food supplies and building materials are still needed to help Tonga’s recovery.

Last month, the Pasifika Safe Shelter Trust called for people to donate old farming equipment, particularly tractors, to help Tonga rebuild after the island nation was devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami in January.

Trust chairman Peter Rodwell said he had received a call from a horticultural group in Tauranga which was trying to secure several tractors for the trust. The trust had already been offered a tractor from Waimate and, although it was missing a few key components, such as a steering wheel and seat, it had a working motor.

‘‘It’s a good machine.

‘‘It’s exactly what we were wanting and it’s not going to take too much to get it going again.’’

Dr Rodwell said the trust was still hoping to get more equipment from the southern region, although he understood it could take a while for people to respond.

The types of tractors the trust wanted were probably sitting unused in people’s sheds, he said. Other equipment such as hand tools (spades and garden forks) and tractor implements were also needed.

The Tongan relief effort was being organised by the trust, the Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group, the combined Tongan churches, the Waitaki Tongan Community Trust and the Oamaru Pasifika Network. They were also calling for donations of nonperishable food and material items to help people in Tonga as they lived through the effects of a natural disaster.

He understood there was very few food supplies in shops in Tonga, and the little that was available had dramatically increased inprice.

‘‘The food supply issue, we suspect, will be significant for about four to six months until they can get crops growing.

‘‘It will take 12 months before they get to normal food supply from their crops.’’

To help the country rebuild, the trust had already sent a container of building supplies and tools, and hoped to send more.

People could still donate items at the drop-off point at the back of Oamaru’s old BNZ building at the corner of Thames and Coquet Sts. It would be open on Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.

Otherwise, people could call 021 682-810 to donate supplies. Money can be deposited to the trust’s bank account 001-0964-0116825-000.