Old Boys is painting the town red.
On Saturday, the Oamaru rugby club hosted a Tongan› themed training session where all players, coaches and support staff dressed up in red.
The club, which is hosting various Pacific Island-themed training sessions, plans to raise money at all of its home games this season for the families of its players who have been affected by the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.
Old Boys co-coach Lemi Masoe said the club aimed to raise $2000 and all donations were welcomed.
‘‘We’re not asking a whole lot — whatever they can put in, 50c, 10c, we’ll appreciate anything to help our families back home,’’ Masoe said.
If Old Boys raise $2000, the North Otago Rugby Union has offered to match it.
The Tongan community played a big part in North Otago Rugby and for the union to give back to them was huge, Masoe said.
‘‘It’s so good to have that support from the union as well — it’s awesome.’’
Old Boys culture is based on family, or aiga, and raising money together helped bring them closer as a team.
‘‘That’s out main focus this year is our aiga, to bring those values that we have back home into this so we can create our aiga involvement, with a lot of happiness.
‘‘We are just trying to remind [each other] where we are from. . .with a lot of kids here, it’s all so mixed now. It’s so good to remind them of all those values.’’
Old Boys senior player Inoke Fisilau, who is originally from Tonga, said players banded together as a family, as many of their relatives were all back home. Many players have already sent drums filled with essential items, and money, back to Tonga but were determined to help further.
‘‘This is definitely a big thing because they are really struggling back home, especially [with] drinking water and stuff like that,’’ Fisilau said.
‘‘In Tonga we drink rain water. It just comes into the roof into a tank . . . but because of the dust, everything, all the tanks are just gone.’’
When Fisilau spoke to his uncle in Tonga recently, he told him all products had doubled in price.
‘‘A bottle of water costs $10, just a normal one. It’s just through the roof.’’
To help with fundraising efforts, Old Boys players were also looking for ‘‘odd jobs’’ to do around the district — from fixing fences and mowing lawns, to helping people move house.
Anyone interested in the services of Old Boys players for a donation to their Tongan relief efforts, or who wanted to donate to Old Boys’ efforts, can contact Masoe on 027 665-3644.