Tools for Tonga.
That is what Pasifika Safe Shelter Trust chairman Peter Rodwell is still calling for, as the trust continues to help the island nation rebuild following the volcanic eruption and tsunami in January.
Tonga’s main food source comes from land crops which have been destroyed by volcanic ash. It will take up to six months for the crops to return to seed and Tonga is in desperate need of tools, and tractors, to help rejuvenate the land.
Dr Rodwell said the trust had acquired two Massey Ferguson tractors, which were both run- down — one was missing a seat and a steering wheel — but they were being repaired by Waimate Tractors and Equipment, and Sparex had given spare parts to assist with the upgrade.
But Tonga needed ‘‘hundreds’’ of tractors and Dr Rodwell said the trust would happily take any small low-technical tractors off people’s hands, no matter what their condition was. Massey Ferguson tractors would be preferred.
‘‘We would love to have them and we will find people to do them up. We’re keen to send as many as we can,’’ Dr Rodwell said.
About half of Tonga’s land was hand-tilled and the trust was also appealing for donations of hand tools, including wheelbarrows, rakes, hoes, spades, forks, pick axes and sprayers, to send over.
The Oamaru and Waimate Lions Clubs had started collection drives for the trust and Dr Rodwell was grateful for their support.
The focus for the next three months was helping Tonga get water and food security. The trust, in collaboration with the Waitaki Tongan Community Trust, has already sent a container filled with drums of food and would continue to send more food, including dried seedlings.
‘‘We’re still keen to get more food. We’ll keep sending.’’
Dr Rodwell said the community’s help had been massive.
‘‘We’re obviously continuing to seek funding, but people have been very generous in this town,’’ he said.
‘‘Oamaru is amazing. For its small number of people, we are probably sending as much as Auckland.’’
The trust also has a container at Waitaki Boys’ High School filled with old desks, seats, science equipment and books for Ha’apai High School, in Tonga. Other education equipment from Oamaru Intermediate School, Waimate High School, and Blue Mountain College, in Tapanui, would be sent over with it.
Medical supplies would follow after that, he said.
People wanting to give unwanted tools to the trust could leave them at the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park, in Oamaru, or at Rural Transport, in Kurow.
For more information contact Dr Rodwell on 021 682-810. Money can also be deposited to the trust’s bank account 01-0964-0116825-000.