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Justice and Mercy Dinner – Wed 1 August

Dear Members of the STC family,

On February 12, 2018, Tonga was struck by Cyclone Gita, a category 4 cyclone with sustained winds of 230km/h. The cyclone devastated the Tongan islands, damaging over 1,100 homes and causing upwards of $170 million dollars of damage.

Villa Maria College’s sister school, Takuilau College was extensively damaged by Cyclone Gita. The cyclone tore the roof off the main buildings and destroyed the school’s computer labs. Since the cyclone, the students are being educated in tents and the college’s hall while the school is in the process of repairing the damage.

Unfortunately, the college’s insurance and the subsidies provided by the Tongan Government will not cover the cost to repair the damage to the college and restore their facilities. The short fall is estimated at $60,000.

This has prompted both Villa Maria College and Saint Thomas of Canterbury College to combine to run the ‘Justice and Mercy Fundraising Dinner’ to help out not only Takuilau College, but also the Pacific Community who also suffered extensive damage during Cyclone Gita.

The Justice and Mercy Dinner will be run on Wednesday, August 1st, from 6pm till 10pm at the Hornby Working Men’s Club. The dinner involves a three course meal, student performances, silent auctions and two keynote speakers. All proceeds from the dinner will go directly to Takuilau College and the Pacific Communities.

The cost of a single ticket is $80 but a two tickets can be purchased at $60 each ($120) to encourage greater numbers. This ticket covers the cost of the meal, the venue hire and licensing, the keynote speakers and other associated costs.

Tickets are limited in numbers and can be purchased at the receptions of both Colleges. The final day for sales is this Friday, July 27.

The primary keynote is Phil Glendenning of the Edmund Rice Centre in Sydney, Australia. With a background in education, law, political science, and overseas aid and development. Today he is primarily involved in human right advocacy and education, peace and reconciliation work and raising awareness of the impact of climate change on marginalised peoples.

In his work for the rights of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Phil led the Edmund Rice Centre’s research team for the Deported to Danger series which monitored the safety of rejected asylum seekers in 22 countries, and resulted in an internationally screened documentary, “A Well Founded Fear”, in 2008. He was a consultant on the 2012 TV series “Go Back to Where You Came From”.

Phil is widely sought after for media comment and consultancy in Australia and overseas.

The supporting keynote speaker is Chris Harris of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand (HCNZ). Chris joined the HCNZ Board in August 2015 and is currently the National Director of Education. Chris is formerly the teacher in charge of History at Onehunga High School in Auckland. Chris graduated from Otago University with a degree in History and Political Studies.

During his career, Chris has worked with people with disabilities and at-risk youth in various capacities. He believes strongly in the legacy of educating students in Holocaust, genocide and human rights and travels extensively both within New Zealand and Internationally contributing to global discussions on social justice and education around historical genocides.

We strongly encourage members of our school community to attend the dinner and support our initiative to assist our Pacific neighbours.

We look forward to seeing you at the dinner.

For more information please contact us:

Yours in Christ,

Thomas Newton

Director of Religious Studies

Villa Maria College

Stephen Kennedy

Teacher of Religious Education

In School COL Advisor – Special Character

St Thomas of Canterbury College