Māori students offer helping hand in Vanuatu rebuild

By Aroha Treacher

A group of Māori students are getting in amongst the work being done to rebuild Vanuatu six months after it was ravaged by Cyclone Pam. The group of Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) trades training students are over there putting their skills to good use.

According to EIT Teacher, Todd Rogers, “They're been through a heck of a lot, but they're moral is, they're always out smiling, one of the friendliest islands I've ever worked with, we've got a group helping us, they're not getting paid, so six locals helping us put the roof on.”

The students have helped build a brand new kitchen for the health centre that was destroyed in the cyclone. They are also rebuilding three health centres. Once up and running, it will be welcome relief for staff at Port Vila Hospital where resources are strained.

Rogers says, “We're trying to enhance things as much as possible around the health centres were currently at, the general maintenance, rebuilt a new kitchen, but around the entire island everything is still well below par and they need a boost with some sort of health standard.”

Earlier this year in March, category five Cyclone Pam ripped through Vanuatu killing more than 20 people and displacing 3000.

“They live in corrugated iron shacks that they've rebuilt themselves after the cyclone. They're really positive people. The students have mixed with the children, playing soccer with them in the evenings and sharing our food with them at lunchtimes, it's just been a real awesome experience,” said Rogers.

The small group of students are working in Paunagnisu and Erakor on the south of the island and are due back home this week.

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