Cyclone Winston: Fiji fashion show raises funds for recovery


It's out of the headlines now, but the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Winston is still being felt in Fiji.

Auckland-based Pacific fashion label MENA hit the catwalk on Thursday night to help the island nation raise funds to rebuild.

"We decided that we wanted to support Fiji via Habitat for Humanity, just because we really feel that getting up as many cyclone-proof homes as possible in the Pacific," says organiser Agnes Loheni.

Tropical cyclone Winston struck in March this year and was the most severe cyclone ever to hit Fiji.

The tiny island nation is still suffering the effects, so for Habitat for Humanity, every drop in the bucket counts towards helping people get back on their feet.

"What's needed now is reconstruction, so we really need to construct permanent homes for people and that's the pathway we're going to put people on," says Habitat for Humanity CEO Claire Szabo.

The goal from tonight is raise enough money to build at least one cyclone-proof home, but they don't come cheap.

"I think one home's around $20,000, one basic cyclone-proof shelter," Ms Loheni says.

The sell-out event that's taken months of planning is about more than just raising money, it's also about showing support.

"People are really concerned when they see the pictures of cyclones hitting our Pacific neighbours but when it goes out of the news that support tends to go away," Ms Szabo says.

"Cyclones happen in the Pacific every year to one island or another, and everyone just pulls in all the time," Ms Loheni says.

And with this help they're future-proofing the country to minimise the devastation for when the next one hits.


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