CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Earthquake-hit New Zealand wants US talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman to help fundraising efforts after the disaster that devastated Christchurch, a report said Monday.


Prime Minister John Key planned to ask the influential celebrities to promote a charity drive for victims and rebuilding efforts following the tremor that killed at least 148 people, The New Zealand Herald reported.

"We are going to speak to well-known international talk show hosts, maybe Letterman or Oprah Winfrey, those kinds of people," Key told the New Zealand Herald.

He said New Zealand hoped to raise "significant cash" in the global appeal, pointing out a similar move by Australia after wildfires claimed 173 lives in 2009 raised almost Aus$390 million ($396 million).

Officials estimate people from around 20 nations were among the victims of last Tuesday's earthquake, which flattened office buildings, tore up roads and left swathes of New Zealand's second largest city in ruins.

Key said that meant the tragedy resonated around the world and New Zealand would use social media sites such as Facebook, international media and the country's diplomatic corps to tell people how they could help.

"It's had a devastating impact on a small country like New Zealand, we think that people around the world will open their hearts and their wallets for the people of Christchurch," he told TVNZ.

The appeal website can be found at www.christchurchearthquakeappeal.govt.nz.