AUCKLAND, New Zealand, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A fundraising event was held here on Friday as part of the efforts made by the Chinese community in New Zealand to support the recovery work after Cyclone Gabrielle devastated the North Island of New Zealand in February.
Traditional Chinese and contemporary art performances such as Wushu arts, chorus, musical instrument playing, dances and poetry recitation were staged during the event to raise funds and demonstrate solidarity to support the post-cyclone construction in New Zealand.
Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong felt gratified that the local Chinese community as an integral part of the wider multicultural community in New Zealand has joined the cyclone recovery efforts.
"Cyclone Gabrielle has caused widespread and serious damage and disruptions, but it has also brought out the best in New Zealand and New Zealanders," said Wang.
"China and New Zealand are mutually important and mutually close partners. The two countries and peoples provide mutual support and assistance when disasters strike. That was the case in the wake of earthquakes that occurred in Wenchuan and Yushu in China, and Christchurch and Kaikoura in New Zealand," said the Chinese ambassador.
The New Zealand Minister for Statistics, Deborah Russell, said in her speech that she would like to thank the Chinese community for their generosity and kindness.
"You come together as one to support the wider community in New Zealand. We truly are one. What this community has shown is that it matters as part of the NZ community, and you are reaching out with care, kindness and compassion to the people who have been so badly affected by the cyclone; from my heart, thank you," said Russell.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown also voiced his gratitude to the Chinese community.
"On behalf of all the people of Auckland, I would like to thank you, our Chinese community, for being so kind, collecting and donating so much money to those who face the ravages of the storm," said Brown.
The fundraising event in Auckland was jointly organized by the New Zealand Huaxing Arts Troupe and the China Culture Centers in Auckland and Wellington, supported by the Chinese embassy and the Chinese consulate-generals. All together 1,274,000 NZ dollars (about 800,000 U.S. dollars) were raised during the event, said the organizers.
Cyclone Gabrielle and a series of extreme weather events hitting New Zealand early this year have caused the death of 11 people and an estimated loss of property at about 8.4 billion U.S. dollars.