Henny Leurink, Plumbing World’s Tony Lyford, Total Care Flooring Design’s Kerry Gilliland, Mico Plumbing’s Simon Oliver, and Eric Kohitolu and Sonny Kohitolu from Sonny Kohitolu Plumbing. PHOTOS/EMILY IRELAND
One plumber’s plight to help Wairarapa’s vulnerable senior citizens
When Sonny Kohitolu isn’t busy working in the plumbing industry with his son Eric, he’s off making a difference for Wairarapa’s senior citizens.
Sonny, who owns Sonny Kohitolu Plumbing, is quite the philanthropist.
He says money can be tight for older people, and so if he can help them out by their mowing lawns, or doing the odd repair job, he will.
The latest recipient of his goodwill is Masterton’s Henny Leurink who was given a bathroom renovation, replacing an old bathtub with a wet floor shower.
Henny’s decreased mobility meant she relied on carers lifting her into the bath to wash.
Now, she is able to shower more freely and there is even a chair she can rest on.
“They used to have to lift my leg over the bath,” Henny said.
“And then [Sonny] came to the rescue.
“I’ve got a seat to sit on and everything.”
Sonny first met Henny when he was asked to fix her laundry tap.
“Then she asked us to go into the bathroom and fix the vanity tap, but when I got there, I looked at her and thought how on earth does she get into there [the bath]?”
“When we left, I said to my son, we will do something for her.
“He said, good idea Dad.”
Upon hearing about Sonny’s ambitious bathroom renovation project, Henny took a lot of convincing.
She thought a free plumbing job was too good to be true and that there must be a catch.
But there wasn’t.
Sonny had approached several Wairarapa businesses for donations and they obliged, happy to help out.
“I went to Plumbing World and Mico Plumbing and asked them to donate the plumbing gear and it was all just, ‘no problem, we’ll do it’.
“Then I went to Mitre 10, and they were on board, same with Total Care Flooring Design – they all said, ‘no problem, we’ll do it’.”
The wet floor shower was installed this month across multiple visits.
Sonny said he always tried to “help out the elderly people”.
“One day, we drove past Bannister St and I saw this old lady standing out the front looking down.
“I turned around and came back and asked her if she was all right.
“She said, I have no more money to mow the lawn.
“I said, leave it – we’ll look after it for you.
“I said to the boys, we’ll go home and pick up the mower.
“They mowed the lawns and we looked after her for six months.”
Through his business, Sonny has come across many elderly people who he said were “taken advantage of” by other household service companies.
He described a situation where a company charged an elderly person hundreds of dollars to evaluate a plumbing problem only to then quote an extravagant price to fix it.
The elderly person paid the evaluation fee but could not afford to pay to fix the problem.
When Sonny heard about the situation, he fixed the problem free of charge in a short amount of time.
Sonny would like to thank Mitre 10, Plumbing World, Total Care Flooring Design, and Mico Plumbing for their support in his latest project.
To contact Sonny Kohitolu Plumbing, call 06 378 7267.