Rev Stephen Black, Ministry Educator for Waikato Taranaki Diocese, had received a number of wheelchairs donated from a local company for which he managed to arrange storage at a local church. He then asked us if we had an agency that could benefit from them.
We asked Rev Amy Chambers of the Diocese of Polynesia and she suggested the Spinal Injury Association of Fiji.
The next step was getting them over. Rev Stephen didn’t have a budget for this and nor did we! The cost of airfreighting was prohibitive and shipping was an option, but also costly.
Our Acting National Director, Michael Hartfield had worked previously in the aid programme for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was aware that the NZ Defence Force often carried humaitarian supplies to the Pacific following disasters. So he contacted the Royal NZ Air Force (RNZAF) in late December to see if this might be a possibility. Within a day the RNZAF confirmed that they would be willing to transport the chairs free of charge on a Boeing flight scheduled for 26 February from Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland to Nadi.
Michael contacted a customs agent to do the paperwork for us and they turned that around in less than an hour with no charge! Rev Stephen borrowed a van and transported the chairs to Whenuapai prior to the flight.
Photo: Rev Stephen Black with the flight loading crew at Whenuapai.
So a good story: – Donated chairs (brand new and very good second-hand); storage in Hamilton and transport to Hamilton by Rev Stephen; transport care of RNZAF; a few logistical care details from Anglican Missions; and a willing and very deserving recipient in Fiji.
On 5th March, Rev Amy Chambers was invited to a special event for organisations that support the Spinal Injury Association (SIA) of Fiji and was able to officially ‘hand over’ the donated wheelchairs. From Rev Amy: “ Thank you Rev Stephen Black, Ministry Educator of the Diocese of Waikato/Taranaki, Mr Michael Hartfield of Anglican Missions and RNZAF for enabling the procurement, logistics and transportation of the wheelchairs. I was honoured to represent the Anglican Church at the handing over ceremony.”