21 February 2012
AS New Zealand remembers on the first anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake it’s fitting to recall the disproportionate effect it had on the city’s small Pacific communities, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says.
“The Pacific population of Canterbury is relatively small, about 11,000 at Census 2006” Chief executive Dr Colin Tukuitonga said.
“But sadly most of those living in the city were clustered in the hardest-hit Eastern suburbs. A large number of them were severely affected and needed to leave their homes.
“Most tragically of all a young Samoan man, Jeff Sanft, was amongst those killed.”
Dr Tukuitonga said Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs staff worked tirelessly to make sure those affected knew about and had access to the help available from government and agencies like NZ Red Cross.
“Pacific people are often shy about coming forward – so Ministry staff organised mobile service vans to travel out to communities and ensure they were looked after and broadcasts on Pacific radio stations to spread the word. This work was later co-ordinated through the Pacific hub in Aranui.”
“In all of this work Pacific people were helped enormously by many other organisations.
“It’s also appropriate, as we commemorate the first anniversary of the earthquake, to reiterate our thanks to Pacific churches, to Ngai Tahu, to Pacific providers and NGOs such as ACTIS, which housed the Pacific hub, other government agencies, Pacific radio and many others.
“Our Pacific communities are known to be resilient. It’s gratifying to know they are now active in planning for the rebuild and recovery.”
For more information contact:
Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
Tel: 04 471 8238 / 027 672 3501