News Story

Christchurch Mormons Lend a Helping Hand to Communities

Working with the Renew Brighton Trust, 100 members of the Christchurch New Zealand Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered recently in the earthquake-affected Christchurch suburb of New Brighton to help the Trust to liven up the damaged village centre and beach front. 

Meeting at the Creative Quarter on New Brighton’s Mall last Saturday [23 February 2013], the group was organized into four groups tasked with their own role in making New Brighton’s centre tag free and litter free. 

A small group lead by Rangiora Latter-day Saint leader Andy Woods rebuilt an onsite shed to house a barbeque donated by the Christchurch City Council. 

Woods and his team worked closely with Rebecca May of the Renew Brighton Trust to recycle and reuse timber to fit into the ethos of the Trust, which is to reuse quake-damaged materials to build stronger communities. 

Renew Brighton’s Creative Quarter is home to one of many projects found in cleared sections across Christchurch.  There the Trust hold weekly music under the stars family BBQs now complete with a newly painted stage and stadium seating thanks to a group of young Latter-day Saint Christchurch women. 

The Tovey family of Riccarton Ward joined in with forty Church members on New Brighton Beach to help the Christchurch City Council clean up some of the summer litter.  Amid the New Brighton Surf Carnival the family and others combed the sand dunes making the environment a little more pleasant for everyone.

Matt and Laura Bates tackled graffiti on one of the houses left intact from the earthquakes.  Painting over tagging made a positive difference to the bus staging area nearby and refreshed the tired house. Brother and Sister Bates joked this was practice for painting their newly purchased home. 

In the recently cleared front yard of the newly painted community house, Christchurch Latter-day Saint leader Jared Ormsby and his daughter Sarah, 5, helped clear weeds that had grown through the sandy liquefaction that had collapsed two brick former shops.  A number of Church members spent three hours removing stubborn weeds and ended up turning up rubble from the foundations of the earthquake damaged shops.

President Ormsby said, “Helping Hands provides a great opportunity to provide much needed service in Christchurch.  Community-based recovery of community trusts like Renew Brighton provide opportunities to really make a visible difference in damaged and struggling communities with on-going earthquake related issues like New Brighton is facing.”  

The Mormon Helping Hands Service Project finished with a barbeque provided by the Christchurch City Council and hot chips and cold drinks provided by the Renew Brighton Trust. 


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