Ambassador reaches out to expat families

23:32, Dec 15 2013

Marlborough's Filipino community had a special high-profile guest at their Christmas party on Saturday night - the Philippine ambassador to New Zealand.

Virginia H Benavidez has been visiting Filipino communities throughout New Zealand following Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the Philippines early last month.

"This will be an important time for Filipinos to keep our togetherness and at the same time [to show] gratitude to the people of New Zealand and the Government, who really showed us really overwhelming outpouring support and solidarity," Ms Benavidez said. "I try to reach out to as many Filipino people as can be."

Marlborough Filipino Community Club president Tina Radley said it was "a privilege and an honour" that the ambassador had responded to her invitation personally. Last week Mrs Radley had delivered a cheque for more than $1000 to help with medical aid and supplies.

"We are just a small club in Marlborough but we are trying our best to represent Filipinos," Mrs Radley said.

Ms Benavidez said New Zealand was "a true friend" to the Philippines and understood how it felt to go through a massive disaster.


The Marlborough Express