Fire appeal: Frank Olivier busks outside Presentables on The Strand last Friday. D9450-03

FRANK Olivier hasn’t busked for a few years, but the need to do something to help with the Australian bush fires had him pick up his guitar and head for the pavement.

The 28-year-old is in Whakatane visiting his parents over the summer holiday, but normally lives in Melbourne. He is working toward a Phd at Monash University with biochemistry and molecular biology his field of study.

Busking on The Strand, near Wharaurangi, over summer, he is performing a mixture of cover songs and originals he has written himself. “I have been playing music for a long time, but not in recent years. I write my own songs but I don’t usually share them. I do a few covers as well.”

He said living in Victoria made the bush fires all the more affecting for him but he says the effect on the wildlife is what has hurt most.

“They are calling it the forever fire, because it could last for months. We are still at the start of the fire season. I have some friends who have been displaced. The effect on the wildlife will be devastating.

“It’s getting harder and harder to turn a blind eye. When I saw the video of the koala being rescued I knew I had to do something to try and help out. I can’t just do nothing.”

Frank says New Zealanders are fortunate in that, whenever there is an emergency or a disaster in this country, the community comes together to try to help.

He says one of his songs, Battle of Love, is about the bush fires and the division it has caused. “In Australia, everything is partisan. People are split, politically, and when something like this happens, rather than being unified by it, it just causes more division.”

Frank has started a Facebook page, facebook.com/pakenhamtrain/ named after the train he travels on every day in Melbourne, where people can track his fundraising efforts.

As Eastern Bay Life went to print he had raised more than $877 over three days of busking.