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Rural Women rally around Tīnui families

The Martinborough branch of Rural Women New Zealand [RWNZ] delivered a luxurious box of seasonal goodies just before Christmas to a Tīnui family who were severely impacted and are still displaced after losing their house and all their belongings in the flooding caused by Cyclone Gabrielle ripping through the area in February.

This gesture followed RWNZ providing festive gift boxes to 20 families in and around Tīnui who are still recovering from the extreme weather event earlier in the year, and was on top of a $10,000 donation the organisation’s Provincial Executive Fund has made to the district to help with the post-cyclone cleanup.

“This is exactly the kind of thing that RWNZ was set for,” said Pirinoa-based Jocelyn Colton, who is president of the Martinborough branch, as well as president and chair of the Provincial Executive Fund.

“We’re here to help each other and our community – whether that’s locally or on a nationwide basis. The damage suffered by Tīnui sort of flew under the radar in the public consciousness compared to other places affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, but there is a real need there.”

The generous $10,000 donation was shared between the Tīnui Anzac Trust for repairs to the walkway to the historic Tīnui Anzac Cross, Tīnui Craft Corner for essential equipment, Tīnui School to replace uniforms wreaked in the flooding, and the local playgroup to help fund the replacement of its leaking roof.

Katie Williams, who is the playgroup’s president, told the Times-Age that the donation “is a massive help that takes a lot of the pressure off” the ongoing effort to raise money for a new roof, the funding for new uniforms is “a pretty incredible” assist for under the pump parents, while the Christmas gift boxes full of “just gorgeous stuff” have provided a much-needed lift at the end of what “has been a really tough year on everyone”.

That said, Williams – whose family’s farm suffered severe damage, although their buildings were thankfully untouched – is pragmatically philosophical about the challenges of the past year.

“You just have to just soldier on,” she said.

“You can’t dwell on it – you just have to do what you can each day; do that little bit extra and get it done. You can’t change it, and the weather’s going to do what it’s going to do, so you just have to deal with what you can control.”

Additional reporting
Lucy Cooper.

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