12 Dec 2019

Staff from a range of banks around New Zealand will be wearing their hearts on their sleeves on Tuesday (17 December) as they raise funds for Samoan families affected by the devastating measles epidemic.

Employees from 10 banks are being encouraged to wear a floral island shirt to work and make a donation to support people in Samoa.

Westpac NZ Samoan employee Rudolf Laumatia came up with the idea of ‘Alofa Atu Day for Samoa’ as a way to support family and friends back home and is encouraging other businesses to get behind the initiative.

“This epidemic has taken a dreadful toll on Samoa, particularly on the country’s children. I want to help ensure they get the help and support they need.

“This is a way to raise money to achieve that, and wearing a brightly coloured shirt will also be a visible demonstration to the people back home that we’re thinking of them in their hour of need.”

Westpac NZ will match every dollar donated by its employees to UNICEF’s appeal for Samoa during the fundraiser on Tuesday.

Other banks, including ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Heartland Bank, Kiwibank, MUFG, Rabobank, SBS and TSB have also pledged their support and will be running fundraising activities as well.

Mr Laumatia says the initiative is a great opportunity for businesses and their employees to show solidarity with Samoa and raise much needed funds. They could do this on Tuesday, or a day that works for them.

“It would be great if other businesses could come on board so we can really make a difference,” said Mr Laumatia.

“We’re calling it ‘Alofa Atu Day for Samoa’ because the concept of ‘alofa atu’ is all about love and compassion in Samoan culture. Let’s help alleviate the suffering that we’ve seen with an outpouring of alofa from the people of New Zealand.”

Editor’s note: Organisations that support Alofa Atu Day for Samoa are able to make their own decisions about when they hold their fundraising, how they collect money, whether they match employees’ donations and which charity they donate money to.

Photographs: Westpac NZ Samoan employee Rudolf Laumatia with Samoan colleagues. Photo credit: Jessica Satherley. Higher resolution photographs available on request.