Our hearts broke, but you helped

A whole bunch of support. In the photo include the president of Mailefihi Siu'ilikutapu College ex students in New Zealand Mele Suipi, president of the Gisborne ex students Rev Timote Kavai, tutors and victims who are the students of Mailefihi Siu'ilikutapu College along with the parents, supporters and members of the Gisborne ex students at the airport, getting the students ready to board their flight to Auckland from Gisborne on Thursday morning, December 29. Picture supplied

LETTER

THIS is the first official news release regarding the band members of Mailefihi/Siuilikutapu College who were visiting Gisborne on Christmas Eve for a fundraising concert but ended up in a tragic accident in the Wharerata Ranges that claimed two lives.

Our excitement turns into horror and our hearts cried out loud for our whanau who suffered from the accidents. None of the ex-students went home that night. We were in the hall where the fundraising events were scheduled to take place, cried in fear, prayed and waited patiently for the students from the college we loved to arrive from the scene.

Our hearts broke when they arrived, looking at their faces and imagining what they had been through. However, all we did was pray for a speedy recovery for those at the hospitals, we prayed for the spirits of the ones we lost and we prayed for the victims to recover from the shocks they suffered after the tragic accident.

The concert was changed from a happy fundraising events into a religious donation evening. In the meantime, victims were told to remain in Gisborne for couple of days to complete all the paperwork for the Gisborne Police and all the medical requirements from Tairawhiti District Health.

Most of the victims departed Gisborne via Air New Zealand on Thursday, December 29. Only two patients are still at the hospital and will be flown to Auckland as soon as they are discharged.

During this time, the students stayed with families in Gisborne and the rest remained at the Tongan Methodist Hall at Gladstone Road where they received so much love and help from not only the Tongan communities but from Maori, Pakeha and organisations willing to lend us a hand.

Therefore, we would love to thank the following people who gave all different sorts of assistance for the victims. Most of these people want to remain anonymous.

CASH DONATIONS

Anonymous donation of $300,

$300 from anonymous GBHS teacher,

Donations of $50 from Courier,

$200 donations from Samoan Methodist Church in Gisborne,

$10 donation from a Pakeha who stopped by at the hall where the student stayed,

A cheque of $500 from the Kingdom Ministries,

Donation of $100 from Kevin, a Pakeha who stopped by at the hall.

GIFT CARD donations

$300 gift card from Pak’n Save,

$300 gift care from the community,

$290 gift card from The Warehouse.

FOOD AND CLOTHES DONATIONS

Clothing donations from Kaha Consultancy,

Shopping donations from St Johns which included toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, deodorant, bread, milk, biscuits and rubbish bags,

Catholic Church of Gisborne donated three parcels of food,

Donations of clothes, shoes, meats and shopping brought in by Iasinita Saulala, Melevila and Luseane Tupouniua,

Warwick, employer of Miki Kavai (president of Gisborne Mailefihi Siuilikutapu ex-students) donated a bag of clothes, sheets and duvets and shopping,

Leaderbrand donated fresh vegetables every day to the hall where the victims stayed,

A Tongan family from Hamilton, namely Penisimani and Hepisipa Malupo, donated groceries for the victims,

Minister of the Free Church of Tonga-Gisborne Parish, Rev. Siupeli Kato donated groceries and meat,

Sterling Sports donated Nike bags, clothes and a ball,

A Tongan woman from Hastings named Mele donated a bag of clothes,

Richard Foon donated a bag of clothes,

Samoan ladies named Mele Fili and Seina donated food, clothes, baking and disposable cups, spoons and plates,

Countdown Supermarket donated pizza, drinks, lollies and ice creams,

A Maori woman named Annie offered a sow (meat) for food,

A Tongan woman Lita donated drinks,

A Tongan man residing in Tolaga Bay donated food and groceries,

Also there were a whole lot of food parcels and food donated by Maori and community people who do not want to be named.

FUNDRAISING

The religious fundraising night was held on Wednesday, December 28 at the Breakthrough Church in Gladstone Road. The money raised totalled $28,307.50. The Gisborne ex-students alone raised $23,918.10. Money donated from other communities were $1999.80. The money raised to help the families of the deceased was $2389.10.

Overall we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all the organisations and people from all around Gisborne who convey your love and support on air, on Facebook, on the internet or visit our victims in person to lend your help.

With all our hearts we would like to thank everyone for your help while our whanau from Tonga was here and suffered.

We are so sorry if we failed to thank an organisation or anyone who we should be mentioning in this letter. We wish everyone a blessed new year.

THIS is the first official news release regarding the band members of Mailefihi/Siuilikutapu College who were visiting Gisborne on Christmas Eve for a fundraising concert but ended up in a tragic accident in the Wharerata Ranges that claimed two lives.

Our excitement turns into horror and our hearts cried out loud for our whanau who suffered from the accidents. None of the ex-students went home that night. We were in the hall where the fundraising events were scheduled to take place, cried in fear, prayed and waited patiently for the students from the college we loved to arrive from the scene.

Our hearts broke when they arrived, looking at their faces and imagining what they had been through. However, all we did was pray for a speedy recovery for those at the hospitals, we prayed for the spirits of the ones we lost and we prayed for the victims to recover from the shocks they suffered after the tragic accident.

The concert was changed from a happy fundraising events into a religious donation evening. In the meantime, victims were told to remain in Gisborne for couple of days to complete all the paperwork for the Gisborne Police and all the medical requirements from Tairawhiti District Health.

Most of the victims departed Gisborne via Air New Zealand on Thursday, December 29. Only two patients are still at the hospital and will be flown to Auckland as soon as they are discharged.

During this time, the students stayed with families in Gisborne and the rest remained at the Tongan Methodist Hall at Gladstone Road where they received so much love and help from not only the Tongan communities but from Maori, Pakeha and organisations willing to lend us a hand.

Therefore, we would love to thank the following people who gave all different sorts of assistance for the victims. Most of these people want to remain anonymous.

CASH DONATIONS

Anonymous donation of $300,

$300 from anonymous GBHS teacher,

Donations of $50 from Courier,

$200 donations from Samoan Methodist Church in Gisborne,

$10 donation from a Pakeha who stopped by at the hall where the student stayed,

A cheque of $500 from the Kingdom Ministries,

Donation of $100 from Kevin, a Pakeha who stopped by at the hall.

GIFT CARD donations

$300 gift card from Pak’n Save,

$300 gift care from the community,

$290 gift card from The Warehouse.

FOOD AND CLOTHES DONATIONS

Clothing donations from Kaha Consultancy,

Shopping donations from St Johns which included toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, deodorant, bread, milk, biscuits and rubbish bags,

Catholic Church of Gisborne donated three parcels of food,

Donations of clothes, shoes, meats and shopping brought in by Iasinita Saulala, Melevila and Luseane Tupouniua,

Warwick, employer of Miki Kavai (president of Gisborne Mailefihi Siuilikutapu ex-students) donated a bag of clothes, sheets and duvets and shopping,

Leaderbrand donated fresh vegetables every day to the hall where the victims stayed,

A Tongan family from Hamilton, namely Penisimani and Hepisipa Malupo, donated groceries for the victims,

Minister of the Free Church of Tonga-Gisborne Parish, Rev. Siupeli Kato donated groceries and meat,

Sterling Sports donated Nike bags, clothes and a ball,

A Tongan woman from Hastings named Mele donated a bag of clothes,

Richard Foon donated a bag of clothes,

Samoan ladies named Mele Fili and Seina donated food, clothes, baking and disposable cups, spoons and plates,

Countdown Supermarket donated pizza, drinks, lollies and ice creams,

A Maori woman named Annie offered a sow (meat) for food,

A Tongan woman Lita donated drinks,

A Tongan man residing in Tolaga Bay donated food and groceries,

Also there were a whole lot of food parcels and food donated by Maori and community people who do not want to be named.

FUNDRAISING

The religious fundraising night was held on Wednesday, December 28 at the Breakthrough Church in Gladstone Road. The money raised totalled $28,307.50. The Gisborne ex-students alone raised $23,918.10. Money donated from other communities were $1999.80. The money raised to help the families of the deceased was $2389.10.

Overall we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all the organisations and people from all around Gisborne who convey your love and support on air, on Facebook, on the internet or visit our victims in person to lend your help.

With all our hearts we would like to thank everyone for your help while our whanau from Tonga was here and suffered.

We are so sorry if we failed to thank an organisation or anyone who we should be mentioning in this letter. We wish everyone a blessed new year.

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