Timber shortly on its way to Tonga

Friday 4 Mar 2022

As covered in our 28 January issue, a collective of Hawke's Bay building supply companies were working together to help Tongans whose homes had been destroyed to build temporary shelters. Following the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga, the companies were putting together a shipping container of building supplies to send to the island of Atatā.

After weeks of waiting for supplies to arrive at the BBI wood products' yard RSE workers and local businesses gathered at the Hastings depot to split supplies into individual temporary shelter packs on Sunday. Pastor Unaloto Lolohea brought the RSE workers' situation to his boss, identifying that they would require special help. All 11 of the RSE workers came from Atatā, where homes were wiped out by the eruption's ensuing tsunami.

Although BBI and Ecko Fastening Systems director Brendan O'Sullivan managed to pull all the supplies together, he said it wouldn't have happened without Lolohea. "We wanted to do something to help the RSE workers specifically as they have strong links to Hawke's Bay horticulture from working in our region," O'Sullivan said.

Each shelter pack contains framing timber, nails, plywood, fasteners and tin for the roofing. O'Sullivan said without help from business such as Tumu, Kiwi Lumber, Pan Pac, Red stag, WPI, CHH Plywood, Nelson Pine, Ecko Fastening systems, Bremic, Roofing industries, Metalcraft Hastings and RLB packaging, the initiative would not have been possible.

Lolohea said: "For the RSE workers, it would take three years to save enough for this type of shelter. "This showed that dreams come true because in what would have been three years the families will now have shelter in a matter of months. They do appreciate what BBI has done for them and it is going to help the whole island."

The last step left is getting a shipping container and getting it to the Tongan Islands of Atatā. O'Sullivan has been trying to work around the challenging logistics by arranging a container and then getting it to Tonga and the families. It's likely the containers won't leave for Tonga until late this month or early April.

Photo: Left Brendan O'Sullivan, Francie O'Sullivan and Pastor Unaloto Lolohea with RSE workers making shelter packs for their families in Tonga after the volcanic eruption and tsunami. Photo / Paul Taylor

Source: NZ Herald

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