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Phoenix assist rebirth of flood-ravaged area

CHELSEA ARMITAGE
Last updated 12:58 03/07/2014
 Neville and Sally Bennett
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ

TEAM EFFORT: Archdeacon Harvey Ruru, centre with some of the Victory Phoenix Vikings rugby league players Tehei Crawford, left, Caleb Tauwhare, Andrew Dooley and Tremaine Kotara who cleaned his flood-hit garage.

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Members of the Victory Phoenix Vikings Rugby League Club have put their teamwork to good use to help clean up the mess left by last week's floods.

After practice was cancelled last Friday, 10 rugby league players instead headed down to the Victory area hard hit by last Wednesday's floods to see if they could lend a hand . They came across Archdeacon Harvey Whakaruru's house on the corner of Murphy and Emano Sts, which had been ravaged by floodwaters that "came whizzing down" from all directions.

The water had surged in through the cracks in his garage, leaving "everything on the bottom ruined," he said.

He said the team removed several trailer loads of contaminated and damaged goods and dropped them off at the tip. They returned the next day to clean and water blast the garage and help out at neighbouring houses.

Some even turned up on Sunday to put the finishing touches on the cleanup while he was at church.

"Once we had started the house, we wanted to finish it," said Phoenix coach and former Murphy St resident Andrew Dooley.

He said the team separated when they saw neighbours struggling, with Dooley handed the keys to a stranger's truck to make trips to their storage facility.

He said furniture had to be thrown away, including beds covered in mud. "People's things were just ruined. You could never get the smell out," he said.

The team also had to stop and help people free their cars trapped in sludge. He said the experience was great for building team spirit and camaraderie, despite the circumstances.

Team member Tehei Crawford said the area was "pretty messy", but it was good to be able to help in need.

He lives in Tahuna, but has ties to the Victory community through playing sport in the area.

Whakaruru insists he wasn't the worst hit in the area, but said "the boys were absolutely fantastic".

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- The Nelson Mail

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