Bay children fundraise for families of Tongan 5

By Chris Steel

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Aisake Vakasiuola, with Natasha Hill and Elizabeth Longman with over $1400 Katikati Primary School raised to support the families of the Tongan five men killed. Photo/Chris Steel
Aisake Vakasiuola, with Natasha Hill and Elizabeth Longman with over $1400 Katikati Primary School raised to support the families of the Tongan five men killed. Photo/Chris Steel

Students in Room 20 at Katikati Primary School have been affected on a personal level following the crash on SH2 at Aongatete on August 2 that killed five Tongan men.

Class teacher Kathryn Burtenshaw said the accident was "close to home".

"Eleven-year-old Melina Pelesikoti lost an uncle and a cousin and the driver of the car lived with Aisake Vakasiuola's family."

Ms Burtenshaw said students asked if they could do something.

"The kids in our class wanted to do something positive for those who are hurting - they wanted to help."

Two students from Room 20, Natasha Hill and Elizabeth Longman, both aged 10, went out after school over three nights selling avocados, lemons, kiwifruit and chillies in Francis Dr and Leveley Ln to try to raise money for their friends' families.

They donated $76.40 to the Tongan Relief fund.

The class asked principal Andrea Nicholson if the school could donate the money from a mufti day, held last Friday, to the Tongan Relief fund which she thought was a great idea.

The school collected more than $1400 for the Tongan relief fund.

She was so proud of her class, the school and wider community and the empathy and compassion they have displayed, Ms Burtenshaw said.

"Room 20 have been really driven to help."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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