Our hearts go out to the many communities to our north, devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle. The tragedy is ongoing, and it will be some time before we know the true extent of the damage and loss of life. It has been heart-breaking to see so many homes and businesses destroyed, and countless lives upended. As with Christchurch after the quake, recovery in the affected regions will be a true national project.
As always, however, stories of hope and resilience shine through and remind us what truly matters – accounts of extraordinary heroism and generosity amid all the suffering.
Locally, the impulse to help came to the fore. Pania Houkamau-Ngaheu rallied the Horouta Marae community, and with the support of Ngāti Toa, filled five truckloads with essentials for hard-hit East Coast communities. It was an amazing effort, involving 2400 donors and 100 volunteers who gathered at the marae – including our own Deputy Mayor Kylie Wihapi, who also did a fantastic job promoting the donation drive on Facebook. It was great to see police recruits pitch in, collecting koha from cars, boxing and lifting goods – a lovely testament to the four-plus decades the Royal NZ Police College has made Porirua its home.
Pāuatahanui’s Paul Nation, who has Hawke’s Bay origins and once volunteered in the region’s rural fire service, didn’t skip a beat once the severity of the cyclone became clear. After contacting civil defence authorities to ascertain needs, Paul intended to fill his triple horse float with necessities and deliver it to Hawke’s Bay. But the community’s donations far exceeded expectations, and he hired a truck instead.
I’m certain the koha are a godsend at a time of acute hardship for affected families.
For those seeking to offer financial support, our council has been paired with Napier City Council and its community through the LGNZ Adopt a Community initiative. You can help by donating to the Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust 02-0700-0010824-002.
28 Feb 2023