Whanganui Fijian Community president Vilame Kuruyabaki extends a big "vinaka vaka levu" (thank-you) to all the people and businesses who have offered their support to Fijians affected by Cyclone Winston which devastated parts of their country on February 20.

A container supplied by Tasman Tanning is being loaded with clothing, footwear, blankets, books, stationery and toys to be shipped to Fiji on March 23.

"We are indeed truly grateful and eternally humbled," he said.

Donations have been pouring into Born and Raised Pasifika preschool in Aramoho, manager Hellen Puhipuhi said.


Mrs Puhipuhi said she would like to thank Whanganui Mayor Annette Main for opening a mayoral fund bank account to assist people in Fiji and says all monetary donations are directed there.

The container will arrive in Fiji on April 2 and the donations will be distributed among the villages in the Tailevu province devastated by the cyclone.

Mrs Puipuhi said Tasman Tanning is also meeting the cost of shipping, and that the local Fijian community wishes to thank manager Hunter Tate for the company's generosity.

Dave Hoskin Carriers Ltd has provided free transport for the container, Warren and Jane Ruscoe of Meteor Printing have donated goods for school children in Fiji and Mrs Puhipuhi said the koha shed, schools, Whanganui River iwi and whanau organisations, health organisations, the fire service and early childhood education providers have all pitched in.

Individuals have also been very generous with one family coming from Taihape to bring donations for the container.

Cyclone Winston, with wind gusts of up to 230km/h is recorded as the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall over Fiji. It killed 44 people, damaged or destroyed nearly 25,000 homes and affected about 40 per cent of the population.

Mrs Puhipuhi said there is still a lot of help needed and the Whanganui Fijian Community will be holding a street appeal on April 9 from 8am-2.30pm.

"We are also holding a big cultural day of entertainment and food stalls at the Whanganui War Memorial hall on Saturday, May 7 and we would love to hear from anyone interested in performing."

Mrs Puhipuhi can be contacted at Born and Raised Pasifika on 06 343 5441.