Friday, February 28, 2014

I love Kiwis

This week, we’ve had a story of an ordinary young Kiwi family hard done by, but it’s moving toward a happy ending—thanks to other ordinary Kiwis. It’s an example of why I love Kiwis so much.

The gist of the story is that Tobi and Sarah Lawton sunk all their money into a home. Not long after they moved in, they discovered extensive termite damage. In fact, it’s being described as the worst termite infestation anyone’s seen in New Zealand. They had no idea, and thought they'd done all the right things.

The house is unsalvageable and must be demolished—but the Lawton’s are mortgaged to the hilt. Bankruptcy seemed to be their only option.

Then, TV 3’s Campbell Live programme got onto it. Last night they first reported on the story, and part of that was that they set up a fund for people to donate whatever they could to help the family.

Tonight, the programme broadcast a follow-up, and things are definitely looking up for the family. In a little over 24 hours, about $135,000 had been donated to help the family, with a weekend yet to go.

We’ve had this sort of story before, of people with nowhere to turn for help, then a TV programme hears of it, tells their story, and ordinary Kiwis respond by donating whatever they can—money, sure, but also time and talents. It restores one’s faith in humanity.

There are those who say we can do this because, as a small country, it’s easier for people to be able to pitch in and make a difference. Maybe, but I think it says something about the Kiwi ethos, that everyone deserves a fair go and we help each other when we can. That money raised so far was donated by fewer than 3400 people, out of 4.5 million of us. Clearly a few people can be motivated to do a lot. That, too, is a Kiwi thing.

No country is perfect, and, like all countries, New Zealand has its problems. But I’ve also seen a generosity of spirit that’s all too rare these days, a willingness to help strangers in need—not once, but many times. I think that’s pretty remarkable.

I wish more people were like that more often, but I’m glad to know that Kiwis so often are.

This country is pretty awesome, but its people are even more so. This is just another example of why that is so.

The fundraising page for Tobi and Sarah stands at over $143,000 as I get ready to publish this post.


rogerogreen said...


Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I just checked, and the fund is now up to $168,000.