Just after noon on December 6 last year, the Wang family’s livelihood was destroyed by the tornado that hit Hobsonville. William Wang works for ClearPoint as a Microsoft developer. He’s been with us almost a year. His parents arrived in New Zealand in 2010 from Tianjin, China to be with their only child, William, who settled here after university. They had only been farming cucumbers for two and half years before the tornado hit and devastated their crops, smashing their glasshouses to smithereens.

When we heard about the tornado and the Wang family farm, people immediately offered to help. Within a few days of the tornado, we had a team of volunteers. Over a day we cleared up huge shards of glass and saved as many plants as we could. So far we’ve cleared away 12 tonnes of glass and filled up three skip bins.

“Without the help of ClearPoint we would have spent weeks and weeks doing the work and there’s just me and my parents,” says William.

On Saturday 2 February, ClearPoint went back with more volunteers and more skip bins. The job isn’t finished yet though and we will will be going back.

In William’s words here’s what happened the day the tornado hit:

“The tornado hit just after midday so I was sitting at work on December 6. A colleague who lives nearby told me about the tornado. He had just read about it. I was so worried and I decided to go home straight away. I couldn’t get through the roads because the police had cordoned them off. I couldn’t get through on the phone to my Dad.”

“I pulled over and left the car on the side of the road. I walked the two kilometres to the farm. It was pouring with rain and I just had my work shirt and suit trousers on.”

“I was so happy to see my Dad. He was lucky not to be hurt. He had been picking cucumbers in one of the glasshouses. He pulled one of the wooden cucumber boxes over his head and crouched right down. All the glasshouses were smashed and one of the structures had just collapsed. I was completely shocked by the mess. It was like something out of the movies.”

“It’s been hard on my parents. When the tornado hit, my Mum was in China. When she got back to the farm, all she saw was broken glass and dead plants. At this time of year there should be about 5000-6000 cucumbers a week and last week we picked 80.”

ClearPoint will continue the work we’ve started and support the Wang family while they get back on their feet.

It would be great if we could get others involved in helping out. The Wang family has been hit  hard by the tornado. If you’d like to get involved, drop us a line: admin@clearpoint.co.nz