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Local link to cyclone disaster

Fiji is waking up to the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Yasa. PHOTO/KKU THE FIJIAN ARTIST

‘We worry about people at home’

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A member of the Wairarapa Fijian community is asking for donations of toiletries, cleaning products, and non-perishable food after the country was hit by a severe cyclone last month.

Viti Wellington Community Association committee member Sereana Phillipps, of Masterton, said the organisation would be sending two containers full of supplies to the National Disaster Management Office in Suva in January.

It was working with the Fijian Embassy and the New Zealand Government to fund the shipping costs of the containers.

Phillipps said items needed included tinned or dry food, toiletries, laundry soap, dishwashing products, and menstrual pads.

Clothing and bedding were not needed at this time.

She hoped Wairarapa residents would donate whichever items they were able to.

“I would like to ask them to help with all the items,” she said.

“My goal is to collect as many as we can.”

Sereana Phillipps. PHOTO/FILE

Category 5 tropical Cyclone Yasa hit the Fiji islands on December 17 and is the worst cyclone to hit the country since Cyclone Winston in 2016.

“This is not the first time Wairarapa has helped,” Phillipps said.

Locals had contributed towards 36 containers of supplies after Cyclone Winston in 2016, which was “absolutely more than expected”.

“I just want to be involved in looking after my people,” she said.

“The last one they helped us a lot and thank you very much. Again, we’re asking you for help.”

Phillipps’ village was in one of the areas affected by Cyclone Yasa.

“In my village, the roofs were all gone,” she said.

“People sheltered in a cave.

“We are lucky we’re here, but we worry about people at home.”

Before moving to New Zealand, Phillipps had experienced “many, many” cyclones first-hand.

“It was dangerous. It was scary,” she said.

“Everyone has to come to one house and hold down the thatching.

“We can hear it; [people say] ‘It’s coming, it’s coming!’.

“It comes with a tsunami.”

Phillips would be collecting donated goods and transporting them to Wellington, where the two containers waited. The last day for collections would be January 10.

“We’re grateful that we’re here and we should all look after each other,” she said.

“Thank you for loving us, and we love you right back.”

Items needed

Bathing soap

Toothpaste and toothbrushes

Washing soap

Washing powder


Menstrual pads


Baby wipes

Dishwashing liquid and sponges/scourers

Tinned food



Milk powder



Bottled water


Healthy children’s snacks

  • For more information or to arrange delivery, contact Sereana Phillipps on [021] 268-2958

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