Small district, big heart

One of the benefits of the boom in dairy farming and subsequent job creation, has been the mixing of cultures in rural communities.  Our kids go to school together, we socialise and work together, and we all get a taste of foreign cultures first hand - including tasting extremely hot curries at community events!

 Farmland at Kapua, looking out towards Waihao Downs.

Farmland at Kapua, looking out towards Waihao Downs.

When Nepal was rocked by a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 2015, and our friends villages were destroyed and their families affected, a group of Ikawai farmers decided to help out.

 Logo designed by local Dave Julian for the event, incorporating the Nepalese flag and the NZ fern and koru.

Logo designed by local Dave Julian for the event, incorporating the Nepalese flag and the NZ fern and koru.

A charity fundraising evening was held, with over 260 people attending.  Attendees raised over $40,000 dollars via ticket and t shirt sales, plus a live and silent auction.  A further $20,000 was raised via general donations and a cull cow scheme.  The response by the Waimate District reflects the high esteem people have for their Nepalese friends.

The funds are being used to rebuild a school near Simle, which was near the epicentre of the earthquake.  The rebuild consists of  a new building of eight classrooms, two offices, running water and a toilet block.  The school has a roll of 183 pupils and 11 teachers, and is a combined primary and secondary school.

Building started in 2017 and great progress has been made.  It’s not a simple build as they have to work around the monsoon and unpredictable weather, plus the remote hilly location of the region means avoiding landslides as they attempt to get building materials there.

Ramesh Gurung, recently visited Nepal and met local people helping to co-ordinate the rebuild, his brother in law is mayor of the village. “They are doing the final concrete work, the rain not helping them but we are nearly there. It is not that far to finish the building but they will let us know soon”.

The Waimate District consists of small rural towns, farmland, rivers, hills, lakes and sea.  At it’s heart is a diverse community that lives, works and socialises together, and is making a real difference for our friends and family in Nepal. Nice work Waimate.

eventKate O'Connell