A haka from the Kiwi rugby league team on Wednesday helped to lift the spirits of Brisbane schoolchildren coping with severe storm damage.
The Kiwis performed the challenge in front of pupils from half a dozen schools, who had gathered at The Gap High School in city’s northern suburbs.
Joining them on stage was the high school’s head boy, 17-year-old expatriate New Zealander Damon Thomson.
The Kangaroos also visited the school, which is in one of the worst affected areas, fallen trees littering the school grounds.
Damon, who moved across the Tasman from Oamaru with his family three years ago, said the presence of both teams was a sign of the great community spirit shown in response to the destruction.
“It’s fantastic because the storm was devastating,” he said.
“It’s gives the students a real buzz to see the players and it helps to take their minds off tidying up.”
Damon said performing the haka with the Kiwis was an honour that he doubted he would ever get again.
“I’m not sure many New Zealanders would get to do it either,” he said.
“It’s something I’ll treasure forever.”
The storm that swept through on Sunday night has been described as the worst to hit southeast Queensland in 25 years.
It ravaged parts of northern and western Brisbane and the Gold Coast, leaving 4000 homes damaged, of which 300 were seriously damaged and 30 were left unliveable, and led to one death.
Australian prop Steve Price said he was amazed at the amount of damage he saw.
“Some of those trees you reckon would have been around for a while and they just looked like they were ripped out of the ground,” the Queensland-born skipper of the New Zealand Warriors said.
“But it’s great to see the response from the community. For us and the Kiwi team to be able to come here and lift the spirits is a good thing.”