Lessons found in Chilean village

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 07:25 30/11/2012
marra stand
ANDY JACKSON
Peter Marra is selling this sculpture to fund a project on crisis preparation he will take to Chile.

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A Taranaki acupuncturist is trading his needles for a phrase book to pursue a project aimed at teaching New Zealanders lessons learned from the 2010 Chile earthquake.

Peter Marra was inspired by the achievements of his old friend and Taranaki expat Griffin Hope, who, with his Chilean wife, has set up an educational facility in Chile that teaches sustainable living.

The facility combines a farm, school and community, and demonstrates sustainable living practices.

Following the Chile earthquake, the "eco-village" offered salvation to the community with its year- round supply of food and stored water.

Mr Marra said he wanted to document the efforts of Mr Hope and his wife through a blog which would eventually progress to a documentary broadcast back in New Zealand.

Mr Marra is not without the credentials to carry out such a project. He co-produced and directed a documentary Children of a Nation based on the life of a child in East Timor. It was a finalist in the 2009 Asia-Pacific Child Rights Awards.

He was inspired by the story of Mr Hope and his wife helping and educating their community in resilience planning.

"It's not just about sustainable technologies and growing organic food but linking the greater community - getting people prepared for the possibility of crisis."

Mr Marra said New Zealanders could learn from the community focus of El Manzano.

He is selling a sculpture he has owned for 12 years to raise funds for the project. He has also applied for the $10,000 Lottery Minister's Discretionary Fund which was backed up by a letter of support by New Plymouth Mayor Harry Duynhoven.

"It's a hard one to crack but I'll give it my best shot. I hope Harry's letter will carry the day," Mr Marra said.

The project would probably cost double what the grant offered and he is inviting sponsorship from Taranaki locals.

He said he had wanted to tell Mr Hope's story for some time but had always hit obstacles.

You can donate to Mr Marra's project by contacting him through LinkedIn.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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