Church returns donations to disabled man

A Napier church that received thousands of dollars in donations from a disabled rest home resident has returned the money.

Bruce Collingwood, from Oasis Elim Church, has returned money donated by Whetu Abraham over the last two years, Elim Church of New Zealand has announced.

Spokesman Chris Bethwaite would not reveal how much money the church had refunded to the Otatara Rest Care and Rehabilitation rest home resident, but said it was only money that was recorded as coming from Mr Abraham.

''Mr Abraham may have donated more funds in cash amounts, but did not identify himself as the giver, so there is no way for the church to identify this,'' he said.

It appeared Mr Abraham may have given away more than he should have, given his circumstances, he said.

"The church had queried with Mr Abraham about his giving and he was adamant that he wanted to give the funds to the church. The funds returned today have been done so as an act of good will.''

The decision to refund the money came after The Dominion Post revealed the church took nearly $12,000 from Mr Abraham last year and about $10,000 in 2008.

Mr Abraham, 54, is a partial tetraplegic with head injuries incurred when he was hit by a car in 1986. He could not afford dental care for his rotting teeth.

The Dominion Post