Aotearoa’s communities have shown incredible resilience in the face of recent flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle around the motu. It’s time to acknowledge and celebrate the essential role played by small charities, marae, hapū and iwi in providing vital support to those in need during these challenging times.
These grassroots community groups have a deep understanding of our communities and the needs of our people. They bring a unique perspective that can make all the difference in disaster response efforts. We believe it is crucial that Civil Defence, Central Government, Local Government, and other emergency management providers work closely with these community organisations to utilise their knowledge and expertise in responding to disasters.
Here are just some of the examples of local community groups, marae, hapū and iwi who have stepped up to serve their communities over the past month:
- The Ngāti Hine Health Trust in Northland set up a welfare centre to support people affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. They provided temporary accommodation, meals, and other essential supplies to those in need. They also worked closely with local emergency services to ensure that everyone had access to the support they needed.
- The North Shore Sikh Society in Tāmaki Makaurau cooked thousands of meals for people caught in Auckland’s flooding.
- Migrant and refugee background volunteers also stepped up in Tāmaki Makaurau. Aotearoa Africa Foundation and The ARK Collective – Act of Roskill Kindness were just some of the community groups that provided volunteers to help with evacuations and flood clean-up across local affected communities.
- In Waiapu, the Te Riu o Waiapu Trust Board worked to support vulnerable members of their community, including the elderly and those with disabilities, during the floods. They provided transport to help people evacuate their homes and ensured that everyone had access to essential supplies.
- The Waimana Kaaku Whānau Trust, a small charity based in Bay of Plenty, worked closely with local emergency services to provide support to people affected by the floods. They provided emergency accommodation, food, and other essential supplies to those in need.
- The Ruatahuna community, also in the Bay of Plenty, set up a welfare centre to support those affected by the cyclone. They provided emergency accommodation, meals, and other essential supplies to those in need.
- The Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Trust was ready with an emergency plan and emergency shelter in place. They prepared with food packs and staff ready to respond in Pacific languages.
- In the Gisborne region, the Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou worked closely with local emergency services to ensure that everyone had access to the support they needed. They provided emergency accommodation and meals, and worked to support vulnerable members of their community, including the elderly and those with disabilities.
As a community, we can sometimes overlook the vital role that small community groups play in responding to disasters. These groups work hand in hand with larger organisations and official emergency management providers to offer much-needed support and aid to those affected by a crisis. Because of their deep understanding of their communities and the people they serve, they are an invaluable resource during times of crisis.
However, these groups are often too busy doing the work to spread the word about their efforts. They focus on serving those who need their help the most, and as a result, their communication and outreach efforts may be limited to the people they’re helping.
The recent floods and Cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand have shown us the importance of community-led disaster response efforts. By partnering with small charities, marae, hapū and iwi, emergency management providers can ensure that resources are used efficiently, and that affected communities receive the support they need in the most effective way possible.
By working together, we can create a more comprehensive and effective response that meets the diverse needs of our communities. At Hui E!, we want to express our gratitude to these organisations and encourage everyone to support them in any way they can. Together, we can build a stronger, more resilient community.