During December 2012, parts of Samoa were decimated when a deadly Cyclone hit the country effecting nearly 4000 people and killing several.
Floods caused by Cyclone Evan washed away hundreds of homes, properties, churches and businesses. With many of the Chiefs’ players closely linked to Samoa, the Chiefs’ family were keen to support the ravished country by launching an appeal for basics needs such as water, canned food and clothing.
The project is being driven by Chiefs players, former Samoan captain and hooker Mahonri Schwlager and Tim Nanai-Williams. Both players were directly affected by the horrific Cyclone.
Chiefs’ hooker Mahonri Schwalger spent two weeks in Samoa after the disaster and said "I wasn’t expecting it to be that bad. Instead of a cyclone it looked like a tsunami. The river blocked, so the water came out like a massive wave and we all lost our houses, it was just devastating."
The biggest issue is that there is still no clean water and there was no power. We had over 100 people living in one house for a few days, not knowing what to do."
Outside back Tim Nanai-Williams could not make contact with his Mum for over a week "It was a very distressing time for me. My Mum means everything to me and I couldn’t function until I’d heard her voice." "It was terrible, many people didn’t have food for Christmas," said Nanai-Williams.
Prior to going to Samoa to assess the damage, the Ruakura Club, driven by Peter Dobbie gave Mahonri $1000 cash to give to the people and the Chiefs team all put in money for Mahonri. He used the money to buy food to take to Samoa and shared the rest of the money around with many of the local families.
"There are many of our team that have Samoan links including Fritz Lee, Bundee Aki, Lelia Masaga, Ross Filipo, August Pulu, and Tom Coventry, who was a former coach of the national rugby side, so there is a natural desire for us to want to help out and by doing this appeal I know we will get the much needed aid directly to where it is needed," said Schwalger.
Former Chief Sonny Bill Williams also arranged to donate a large number of his own rugby boots.
To donate bottled water, canned food, clothes, shoes or non perishable items please send or deliver them to the Chiefs Headquarters at Ruakura Research Centre, East Street, Hamilton or send to P O Box 4292, Hamilton East 3247 by Friday 25 January, labeled ‘Samoan Appeal’.