Fundraiser reunites refugee families
Three Feilding homes are throwing open their doors to help former refugees welcome family members.
Kaingara, a 1910 villa in Nelson St and Brindle Gardens on the outskirts of Feilding will open to the public in a Zonta Club of Manawatu¯ fundraiser for the Manawatu¯ Reuniting Refugee Families Trust (MRRF).
Jill O’Brien is president of Zonta and says Manawatu¯ Reuniting Refugee Families Trust is a wonderful cause.
“As an ESOL teacher I understand the struggles that refugees face when they relocate to a new country.
“These people need our support and that of their families and Zonta is about women looking after women.”
Jill and husband Shane have owned Kaingara in Kimbolton Rd since 1996. Shane is a descendant of the former Feilding lawyer and mayor WA Sandilands who Kaingara was built for in 1890.
Kaingara was built by hand using native timbers. Two of its admired features are the decorative ceilings and heart rimu fireplaces.
The property used to host Thinking Days for the Guiding movement.
“We have tried to carry on the tradition of being its caretaker and sharing it,” Jill says.
“Kaingara is a grand old dame and she needs to be admired.
“The two-acre garden around her gives her a sense of scale.”
Jill said Christmas @ the Villas is a rare chance to see inside the three distinctive homes.
“People drive past them and think ‘it’s such an interesting house, I wonder what it’s like inside’. Now here is the chance to find out,” Jill says.
The Brindle Gardens villa was relocated from Victoria Ave in Palmerston North and the Nelson St villa built in 1910 has been recently renovated.
MRRF Trust chair Lorna Johnson says many newcomers to New Zealand are families or individuals who seek reunification with family members after their settlement.
“Knowing your family is safe helps more successful settlement in a new country.”
■ The MRRF Trust helps refugee families in the central North Island by providing financial assistance to reunite family members who have been separated due to persecution or war.
■ Christmas @ the Villas, November 17-18. $30 tickets are available by emailing [email protected] or from the Hotel Coachman Palmerston North and You Travel Feilding.
Grand old dame Kaingara Villa.