Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Volunteer student army steps in to help with Wellington clean-up, welfare support

The Victoria Student Volunteer Army is dropping off sweets and offering welfare support to students in the nearby Te Puni Village student accommodation and other Kelburn residents. Photo / Supplied
The Victoria Student Volunteer Army is dropping off sweets and offering welfare support to students in the nearby Te Puni Village student accommodation and other Kelburn residents. Photo / Supplied

A student volunteer army set up overnight is already knocking on the doors of quake and flood stricken houses around Wellington's Victoria University to offer their help and manpower.

Within the last hour the core team of 10 volunteers began reaching out to people staying in the Te Puni Village student accommodation, and other houses near the university in Kelburn.

The group will help in the worst-hit areas once the roads reopen.

Ed Cook, who has been a member of the Canterbury Student Volunteer Army for the past three years and has just returned home to Wellington for the summer holidays, said the initial reaction had been positive.

Cook helped set up the group with Victoria Union of Wellington Students' Association president Jonathan Gee.

"The response has been actually quite positive because a lot of people, especially the international people based here over the summer who don't leave during their stay while studying at Victoria have been quite shaken by the earthquakes, so having that reassurance by both the counsellors here at the university and also by us," Cook said.

He said the aftershocks were still being felt throughout Wellington.

Already more than 350 students had signed up to help and were expected to meet at the union building at Victoria University tomorrow once the roads are more accessible.

These students would, providing the roads were open, travel to Whitby, Petone, Hutt Valley and Porirua, which had been the hit hardest by the floods.

People in need had already contacted the group via the newly created Victoria University Student Volunteer Army Facebook page, asking for assistance with shovelling slips and flood clean-up, but Cook said by the time they had responded neighbours had already stepped in.

Massey University students in Palmerston North had also offered to travel down to help with the big clean up.

- NZ Herald

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