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Raglan to help tsunami village set up surf club

Tsunami-struck Lalomanu in Western Samoa will get its first surf club next year thanks to a collaboration between two trusts working to avoid any further loss of life such as that of Raglan identity Maryann White, who drowned during the freak disaster there in September last year.
The Lalomanu Village Trust together with Trust Waikato will bring four villagers from the tiny Samoan settlement to Raglan in February or March to train for their surf life saving and first aid certificates, says ward councillor Clint Baddeley, a trustee of both organisations.
The villagers will learn their new skills with the Raglan Surf Life Saving Club, which is sponsored by the Hamilton-based community trust and incorporates “Trust Waikato” as part of its name.
Clint is calling for donations from other surf clubs around the country of secondhand equipment such as uniforms, lifebelts, flags and surf-skis to replace the “old kayak and broken paddle” that Lalomanu has depended upon until now.
Collaboration between the trusts is “so important”, says Clint, in providing the village with skills and equipment. A change in tidal flows since the tsunami, he adds, means Lalomanu desperately needs its own rescue ability.
Meantime an escape path — called the Maryann Walk — is under construction in the village and now “90 percent complete”, says Clint.
The pathway comes complete with lighting, and the Lalomanu Village Trust is meeting the $30,000 cost out of the funds raised from New Zealand-wide donations in the wake of last year’s tsunami.
The other Lalomanu trustees are Andy White — who was Maryann’s husband — and fellow Raglan resident Brent Cederman. The Whites and Cedermans were holidaying together at Lalomanu when the tragedy struck.

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