More than 200 stranded motorists and their passengers crowded into the
Waitati Hall on Sunday evening July 24, when snow closed State Highway
Local residents rallied round to feed the "refugees" and to offer them
accommodation. Families and the elderly were housed at the Maori
education centre, Te Whare Arohanui, while the remainder bedded down
in the hall, the library (which has underfloor heating) and the fire
At the hall volunteers (L to R) Jaya Verma, Karen Clements, Jeevan
Verma, Donna, Craiston, Jack Monaghan, Chris Robinson and Daisy Forest
were flat out cooking and heating up pasta, soup, potatoes and other
food locals had dropped off.
Waitati Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Jeff Burrow was
"stoked" at the way the community responded, with one resident
ferrying a TV set to the hall in a wheelbarrow, so the youngsters
there could watch DVDs.
Photo: Lynnaire Johnston