Gisborne, New Zealand – In the wake of the devastation caused by the storm named Gabrielle, the Gisborne Freemasons have come together to support their community by contributing $30,000 to the Tairāwhiti Mayoral Relief Fund. The donation, which was collected from Freemason lodges in New Zealand and even some from overseas, will go towards aiding the recovery efforts in the region.

The fundraising campaign was initiated by a donation of $421 from a lodge in Manawatu that was closing. As word of the campaign spread, lodges from across the country, including four in Gisborne and one in Scotland, contributed to the effort. The Grand Lodge in Auckland also contributed to the cause.

Robert Bos, Freemasons New Zealand constitution and flood relief organization secretary, expressed pride in the fundraising campaign, stating, “It is probably the biggest and quickest collection of funds for such a cause in my 45 years of being a Freemason.” He went on to express hope that the mayoral relief fund will make good use of the contribution to help the community recover.

On behalf of the Gisborne District Council, Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga accepted the generous donation. During his acceptance speech, Wharehinga conveyed his heartfelt gratitude for the contribution, noting, “It’s not just the donation that we are grateful for but also the token of people’s thoughts and care for our region from other places.”

Wharehinga also reminded those in attendance that it has been only eight weeks since Gabrielle, and the region has a long road to recovery ahead. “It’s going to take us many years to recover. So keep us in your thoughts, Aotearoa and the mayoral fund is always open for those who want to contribute,” he said.

In a touching moment, Wharehinga concluded his speech with a waiata (traditional Māori song) called “Iritekura,” a song he shared is liked by one of his daughters.

The Gisborne Freemasons’ donation demonstrates the power of community solidarity in times of crisis. As Gisborne continues to rebuild in the aftermath of Gabrielle, the support from organizations like the Freemasons and the contributions of individuals from near and far will play a vital role in the healing process.

For more information on how to contribute to the Tairāwhiti Mayoral Relief Fund, please visit the official website of the Gisborne District Council.