Published on 19th April 2011
A Kiwi-themed fundraising event organised by VSA volunteers in Timor-Leste on 9 April raised $3,055 for the Christchurch earthquake appeal.
The money they raised included a US$1,000 (NZ$1,256) donation from the Dili Institute of Technology, which is one of VSA’s partner organisations in Timor-Leste.
VSA’s Asia programme manager Mui Ngah Lee describes the Institute’s donation as a “signal recognition of the value they place on their relationship with New Zealand through VSA”.
According to VSA volunteers Tanya Wilkinson and Lisa Vitasovich who helped organise the Kiwi Night at the Caz Bar, the idea behind it was not just to raise money for the earthquake victims, but to acknowledge what had happened and show solidarity between Timor-Leste and New Zealand.
About 200 people attended the event, which featured a wide range of Kiwi and Timor-themed performances. VSA volunteer Tony McGurk took to the stage in a multi-national group that included an Irish fiddler and a Timorese singer, as did the local ex-pat choir. Other performances included a haka by a member of the New Zealand Police stationed in Dili, and a traditional dance performed by a group of local dancers.
VSA volunteer Bruce Burnett, who is from Christchurch, dressed the venue with the help of a group of Timorese friends, who also provided the sound system and lights.
Tanya and Lisa say they were delighted with how successful the evening was and how many people came – particularly as Dili had been flooded in a rainstorm just a few hours previously.
“We were still brushing water out of the venue as the first people started arriving.”