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Friday, May 6, 2011

Donations, with love from Japan

Donations, with love from Japan

Last updated 05:00 05/05/2011
A Japanese woman reunited with her Kiwi fiance in Christchurch has donated $4000 to the city despite the tragedy in her own country.

Reimi Kinashi, 26, rallied friends, family and workmates in Japan to raise funds for earthquake relief in Christchurch, fiance Blake Bennett's home town, before her own country was hit by a quake and tsunami in March.

She was living in Ibaraki, about 234 kilometres south of Fukushima, when the tsunami hit. Bennett had returned to New Zealand on February 22, the day of the Christchurch quake.

The couple were reunited in Christchurch last month and yesterday donated the money to the Salvation Army's quake fund.

Kinashi said she stopped raising funds after the disaster in Japan, but continued after encouragement from friends.

"They said the New Zealand rescue team came to Japan for us, even though they had a big disaster too, and we should help each other whenever we are in trouble," she said.

Kinashi was inspired after television coverage showed Christchurch was having a "hard, sad time", and she felt she could not help from Japan. She had visited Christchurch several times and her sister had lived in New Zealand for 14 years.

"At first it wasn't easy, but one of my friend's said, `It is important that you go forward little by little' ... he gave me the encouragement to continue."

She and Bennett plan to settle in Christchurch.

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