The Rotorua Japanese community have extended a heartfelt thanks to the city for supporting their fundraiser for Sakurako Uehara, the young girl who was mauled by dogs in Murupara.

Local Giichi Goto wanted to do something for the family as soon as he heard of the incident nearly a month ago. He was in contact with Japanese mothers in the community and with the help of organiser Kyoko Austin the group was able to fold 1000 cranes as a traditional gift for Sakurako.

"I'm also a father of three so even though I didn't know the family I couldn't help but think of them as extended family and was just devastated by it," Mr Goto said.

"We were trying to think of things of what more can we do and met with Japanese mums that gave us the idea of the cranes. Medical-wise there was not much more we could do as she's already in the best care in Middlemore Hospital.


"We would put our thoughts and prayers into every single crane we made wishing for Sukurako's recovery," he said.

Fundraising was also held at the City Focus, Countdown on Fenton St and New World and the group were supported with the help of Koha Rotorua - New Zealand Souvenirs and Plunket. The Japanese community were able to raise $5436.30 which will be sent to the the Middlemore Foundation which is accepting donations to help support the family.

"Sakurako's family feels how we feel, they love the Bay of Plenty and so we wanted to do something from the Bay of Plenty and we were just so overwhelmed by the Kiwi spirit" Mrs Austin said.

Other fundraising events included an oragami workshop and a garage sale at Rotorua English Language Academy.

Academy director Chris Leckie said many locals supported the sale and a donation was made by the Sendai Shirayuri School in northern Japan

"When the earthquake struck in 2001 we did a lot of fundraising for them and this donation is special because they were able to give something in return," she said.

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Middlemore Hospital said Sakurako remained in a serious but stable condition. About $95,000 has been received by the Middlemore Foundation with a further $75,000 pledged.