Ali Mau's Christmas donation

TV star organises gifts for tornado victims

SIMON DAY
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Ali Mau
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Fair Go presenter Ali Mau and her fiancee Karleen Edmonds will collect gifts for children affected by the tornado.

Auckland tornado
Fairfax NZ Zoom
A fire rescue crew at a building site near Walingford Way in Hobsonville.
Tornado aftermath
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Red Cross workers prepare to meet residents affected by the tornado.

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The Hobsonville tornado might have tried to steal Christmas from local families, but Fair Go presenter Ali Mau is determined no child in the area will go without a present this year.

She and fiancée Karleen Edmonds have organised a charity drive for gifts to be donated to affected families.

The pair were touched by an interview they saw online about a woman who had set up a Christmas tree to surprise her children. The tornado had done its damage before they got home, however.

"Karleen and I saw an interview with Claudine Gilles, a local who had just put up her Christmas tree that morning as a surprise for her kids, and was now standing in ankle deep water with rain pouring in through her ceiling," Mau said.

"It occurred to us that even if every family was fully insured they'd never get things sorted by Christmas Day, and there'd be many families for whom Christmas Day would not be a very happy one."

Edmonds gauged interest for present donations via Twitter last week and found plenty of public support.

"It's about making sure that the kids out there have got something to open on Christmas morning."  
Civil Defence have helped by identifying the families most affected and their children's ages. Auckland City Mission will help distribute the gifts to those in need.

Today from 3pm to 6pm, Mau and Edmonds will be manning a present donation station at the Auckland Sailing Club, 30 Tamaki Dr, Orakei. Presents are preferred unwrapped.

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