A gift of face masks to the Whakatāne community proves how strong its relationship is with its friendship province in China, the district council says.
After first reaching out to Whakatāne for help as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Jiangxi Province in the People's Republic of China returned the favour and gifted several boxes of European-grade face masks to the community.
Whakatāne District Council chief executive Stephanie O'Sullivan said she was contacted by officials in the province, whom she keeps in contact with, not long before Whakatāne entered lockdown urgently requesting assistance in obtaining face masks.
Despite her best efforts, she was unable to locate any as New Zealand was also experiencing a shortage in PPE.
However, it was then Jiangxi coming through with several boxes of masks.
"It was a lovely gesture and we really appreciated it," O'Sullivan said.
"It was a really kind thing for them to do."
The council has gifted some of the masks to Te Puna Ora O Mataatua and the Disabilities Resource Centre Trust as they are still doing work on the "front line" while working with the community's most vulnerable.
O'Sullivan said the council also decided to keep some for its staff because, if New Zealand enters a second wave, they'll still need to be undertaking essential work in the community.
"This really shows how essential your relationships are with our friendship and sister cities," she said.
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