Com­mu­nity re­pay­ing gen­eros­ity

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Even af­ter a quadru­ple by­pass, Mark Kairua can’t keep the smile off his face.

The 43- year- old from As­cot Park, Porirua, has had a dread­ful year, suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack just months af­ter los­ing his job.

But his ever-present cheer and gen­er­ous com­mu­nity in­volve­ment made him well-loved in Porirua, and the com­mu­nity ral­lied to help his fam­ily in their time of need.

Af­ter word got out on Face­book that Kairua was await­ing heart surgery, friends set up an ap­peal that has raised more than $3000. Kairua’s wife, Clair, has also been flooded with cooked meals and vouch­ers for petrol and gro­ceries.

That gen­eros­ity meant the fam­ily could pay its mort­gage and bills for an­other month, she said. ‘‘It’s been awe­some, but a lit­tle bit em­bar­rass­ing.’’

Kairua was amazed by the re­sponse. ‘‘I don’t know what I did to de­serve all of that.’’

The fa­ther-of-three taught kapa haka at a lo­cal school, tu­tored Cook Is­lands Maori, chaired the Welling­ton tag foot­ball com­mit­tee, helped needy teenagers pre­pare for their learner driver li­cences, and ran a late-night weekly Cook Is­lands ra­dio show.

Un­til Fe­bru­ary he had worked as Porirua City Coun­cil’s road safety co-or­di­na­tor. That job was dis­es­tab­lished when fund­ing was cut by NZ Trans­port Agency.

Kairua had a new job in traf­fic man­age­ment and was gear­ing up to be­gin paid work as a Pa­cific Is­land school men­tor when his heart gave out. He had not been em­ployed long enough to have enough sick or an­nual leave.

Kairua had risen be­fore work at 5.30am on May 22, and was on his ex­er­cy­cle when he felt pain be­tween his shoul­der blades and tasted metal on his tongue.

By 7am he was on the phone to 111, kneel­ing on the floor and strug­gling to breathe.

Five days later he had six hours of surgery.

Kairua blamed his at­tack on his Cook Is­lands genes – heart prob­lems ran in both sides of his fam­ily.


Heart­warm­ing: Porirua man Mark Kairua with his fam­ily, from left, Grace, 7, wife Clair, Sophia, 5, and Alex, 2.

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