Focus on the Land
Roof over their head
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
A TONGAN family living in cramped conditions after they lost their home in a fire last month have been re-housed.
Everything that the Taufa family of five owned went up in flames when their home in Konini Street, Elgin, was destroyed by a fire on July 20.
Firefighters referred to it as one of the biggest blazes they had tackled. The cause was put down to an overloaded multi-plug board.
It was the second tragedy to strike the family this year. Sione Taufa lost his wife in March when she died during a trip home to visit family in Tonga.
To help raise their young daughter Eseta, his wife’s sister Netae and her husband Simisa, with daughter Tepola, moved in with Sione.
The extended family were immediately taken in after the house fire by their Pastor Sione Kaliopasi, which brought the number living in his four-bedroom house to 16.
But last week the Taufas finally had a new home to call their own after rental managers Jim Osler and his son Geordie read about their plight.
“We felt they were a very needy family and a very genuine case,” said Jim Osler.
The family were offered a three-bedroom house owned by the Gisborne Trust for the Elderly.
To ease the move, the family were not required to lodge a bond.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Pastor Kaliopasi said they were “very grateful” for the help they had received.
“The members of the Gisborne community — we don’t really know them — but they came to my door and brought their generosity and love. We are so grateful for those who have a heart to love and we’d like to say thank you to everyone.
“Especially the Salvation Army, House of Breakthrough and the Pacific Island Community Centre.”
Pastor Kaliopasi said to accommodate the family, his lounge was turned into a bedroom.
“Sometimes at night I sent some of my family to my mum’s and my sister’s house but every day we would spend together at home.”
Energy Options’ curtain bank has offered drapes for their windows and St Vincent de Paul has provided some furniture.
Pacific Island Community Trust family support worker Maria Samoa said both families were now very comfortable and there would be some fire safety messages to follow-up their move.
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