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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.,– New Zealand’s marine industry charity auction at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show to benefit Habitat for Humanity has raised $10,235 to support relief efforts in the South Florida region in the wake of Hurricane Wilma.

Making the announcement today, New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner Lance Sheppard said, “We are extremely proud of the way in which representatives and friends of New Zealand’s marine industry joined together to give so generously. More than 2,400 homes are expected to be built this year by Habitat for Humanity as part of its hurricane relief efforts and we are honored to be able to contribute to this worthy undertaking.”

In remarks to around three hundred guests who gathered on the open-air pool deck of the Bahia Mar hotel overlooking the marina, New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States, John Wood, said, “The events of Hurricane Wilma less than two weeks ago made us all the more determined to get here.  I think Fort Lauderdale has shown tremendous resilience to bounce back from the damage inflicted on the city.  I have to say that as the result, my opinion of Floridians has not changed but rather been confirmed; they are a very hardy and resourceful bunch — traits I like to think that they and New Zealanders have in common.”

“So there is something about us Kiwis that is very similar to your own pioneers — an indomitable spirit permeated with a culture of innovation, and backed by an entrepreneurial spirit. These are the attributes we bring to our internationally competitive industries, none more so than the marine export sector.  From newly developed composite materials to design innovations that have enhanced our reputation for manufacturing excellence — New Zealand-made is now synonymous with high quality, reasonable cost, and thinking outside the square,” the Ambassador added.

Habitat for Humanity Board Chair Nancy Daly said, “I was touched that our vision to foster the positive values of self-help was shared deeply by all of the New Zealanders I met during the course of the evening. The opportunities that we provide to empower people to build their own homes is not a free handout but a means to improve family and neighborhood stability, to become a positive influence in their communities and to give children and families hope for a better tomorrow.”

The “New Zealand Night” cocktail reception featured a fashion show by Line 7, New Zealand food and wine and was followed by a live auction for the following items:

    * Two Air New Zealand Premium Economy Class return trip tickets Los
Angeles/Auckland, New Zealand courtesy of Down Under Answers Travel, valued at $6,000. This premium package also includes a pass for two on Explore NZ’sAmerica’s Cup Sailing Yachts NZL41 in Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’.
    * The newly released Manson Supreme Anchor from Manson Anchors.
    * A painting by renowned New Zealand artist Mark Olsen.
    * Over $1000 of Line 7 apparel, supplied by Events Clothing.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) www.nzte.govt.nz is the New Zealand Government’s economic development agency. Headed by Trade Commissioner Lance Sheppard, the local NZTE office in Ft. Lauderdale has been steering the effort to showcase the continuing growth and innovation of New Zealand’s marine industry. These include a world-class reputation for technical excellence; strong racing pedigree with consistent quality, boat performance, design style and utility, international competitiveness of build times, production efficiency and service. New Zealand’s passionate marine community that uniquely integrates quality suppliers, infrastructure, R&D and marine facilities has produced over two decades of outstanding performance on a global scale. Companies representing the best of New Zealand’s marine industry this year included Alloy Yachts, Maxwell Winches, C-Quip, Kelly Archer, Manson Anchors, Doyle Sails, Southern Spars, SMI, Vaudrey Miller, McMullen and Wing, Vectek, Marten Spars, Robinson Marine Interiors and YDL.

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