It has been one year since Cyclone Winston devastated parts of Fiji killing 44 people, destroying thousands of homes and affecting 40 per cent of the population.

With wind gusts of up to 230km/h, February 20, 2016, saw the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to ever make landfall over Fiji.

Whanganui businesses and individuals rallied to support the local Fijian community in filling a shipping container to send to Fiji last year.

Born and Raised Pasifika manager Hellen Puhipuhi said this week that people in Fiji were still dealing with the after-effects of the cyclone and there was still a lot of work to be done.


"We are filling two smaller containers to send over this year and Rotary have just donated some books to send.

"These things are very much appreciated by people in Fiji."

Last year, Whanganui woman Sheryl Chapman was concerned that children in Fiji needed school supplies and she approached Meteor Office Products for help.

Meteor general manager Richard McCosh put the word out and suppliers ACCO and Staedtler made generous donations.

When combined with Meteor's own contributions, there was around $18,000 worth of stationery added to the container.

"That stationery went to seven schools when it reached Fiji," said Mrs Puhipuhi.

The container arrived in Fiji in April where the stationery and all the donated clothing and goods were distributed by the Love In Action charity.

Each year, a group from Born and Raised Pasifika make a visit to one of their sister schools in Samoa, Rarotonga or Fiji.

"Last year we visited Vuda Treasure kindergarten, our sister school in Lautoka, Western Fiji," says Mrs Puhipuhi.

"Their area was not as badly affected as other parts of the country and they had not had to close but they had been affected like everyone in the country."

Mrs Puhipuhi said the Fijian rugby sevens team's gold medal win at the Rio Olympics in August last year was a huge morale boost for Fijian people everywhere.

"We celebrated for days here in Whanganui.

"It was so good for Fiji to be at the centre of a joyous occasion after seeing such a devastating one."

The 43-7 win against Great Britain in the final gave Fiji its first Olympic medal.