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Wall gifts RainbowYOUTH Coffey portrait

Thu 20 Nov 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News

Labour MP Louisa Wall has presented Rainbow Youth with a portrait of one of its patrons, Tamati Coffey, highlighting the special role he played for the organisation through his time on Dancing with the Stars. The present was handed over at the organisation’s 25 year celebrations at Auckland’s Floating Pavilion last night. The portrait was painted by Te Mete, who has previously painted Carmen - and Louisa Wall herself. It features the word ‘manawa’ which means ‘heart’. Wall bought it at an auction earlier this year with the intention of gifting it to Rainbow Youth, and explained the birthday seemed like the perfect occasion. “I hope this will become part of the office and that it will be part of the legacy,” she said. Along with being a Rainbow Youth patron, Coffey came out publicly and announced the group as his chosen charity when he competed in Dancing with the Stars. He went on to win, and Rainbow Youth was donated around a quarter of a million dollars. Rainbow Youth General Manager Duncan Matthews says the money from Coffey’s success on Dancing with the Stars was key to its education programme, allowing it to employ a full-time educator “and build up the reputation, content and quality of that package”. Rainbow Youth’s co-chair Joe Gatland added a personal note of thanks to Coffey, stating “if it wasn’t for what you did all those years ago, my mum wouldn’t have known of Rainbow Youth and I wouldn’t have ended up here.” Tamati Coffey and his partner Tim with a friend at the Rainbow Youth birthday celebration Coffey recalled being on the show was “a crazy little time” and is glad he pushed for Rainbow Youth to be his charity. “Something in my heart wanted me to do something that was going to make things better for the future of our community, so I’m really happy that I managed to talk the producers into letting me have Rainbow Youth as my charity.” However he said what pleases him most is stories like Gatland’s, which shows the importance of awareness of groups like Rainbow Youth. “That we’re doing something to make things better for the next generation. If this is my bit, then I’ll die a happy man.”      

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 20th November 2014 - 2:11pm

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