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Chelsea Cooper, 9, has so far raised more than $700 for Tonga relief. Photo: SUPPLIED

Chelsea’s cacti collect coin for Tonga

Creating concrete cactuses has never felt so rewarding for Chelsea Cooper.
The nine-year-old Matatoki School student has been making them with her mum, Emma, and selling them to assist in Tonga’s recovery, following the January volcanic eruption of Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai.
Chelsea and her mum were at her school, on State Highway 26, when they saw another student fundraising for the cause.
“She was making money for Tonga, and I thought that was really cool,” Chelsea told The Profile.
“So, that gave me the idea.”
Chelsea’s mum Emma runs her own business, Luluncat, creating concrete home decor.
The pair put their heads together and decided to create little concrete cactuses, which can be painted.
They’ve ended up selling hundreds of them, raising around $700.
“It’s a lot of work to be doing but she’s stuck with it,” Emma said.
“She got some money for her birthday the other day and I said: ‘Do you want me to put it in your bank?’ and she said: ‘I want to give it to Tonga’.
“She’s a beautiful soul.”
The hand-made pieces have been selling for $1 each, with a lot of buyers coming from community and plant-lover Facebook pages.
“Plants are so on-trend,” Emma said, “and it was Waitangi weekend, and it was raining, and I thought kids could paint them and it would give the parents something to do.”
Chelsea will give the money to the Tongan Community of Thames and Paeroa – whose president Alby Tukia earlier told The Profile that any help Kiwis could give would be “valuable”.
“We just hope that they are able to get back to better than how they started off,” Emma said. “Every little bit helps.”
DETAILS: For information on how to buy the concrete cactuses, find ‘Luluncat’ on Facebook.