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Cyclone Gabrielle

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Like many across the region I am currently not in my home. I’m writing this column from a friend’s house high and dry on the hill – benefiting from their generosity and generator to run my computer.

I know many neighbours have been checking in on each other, people have been providing power if they have generators, cooking meals for each other and sharing what they have. One family I know takes their generator to the end of the drive each day so their neighbours can charge their phones and keep in contact with their loved ones.There are so many other stories like this where people are looking out for each other across the region. Our family and pets were so very grateful to have been taken in by friends when we needed to evacuate Taradale. We consider ourselves very lucky and fortunate that our property is okay and our friends continue to provide us shelter and companionship during this time.  

It has been heart-warming to see the amount of volunteers, donated supplies, care and support people and businesses are showing to the community. Having spent some time at the evacuation centre helping with the food preparation and service I had the pleasure of seeing first hand just how many people there are putting up their hands to help. We are fortunate the museum and collection were not affected by any water or flooding and this has allowed our team to focus their attentions on helping with the community’s needs at this time.

Councils are working hard, along with all the other emergency relief groups, to look after displaced people, get supplies where they are needed, coordinate with national providers and look after their communities. Help is coming and things are getting better. We need to continue to remain calm, be patient and support and look out for each other.

I know communications have been a real challenge and this leads to a lack of knowledge about what’s happening, adding to stress levels at this time. I have however noticed that each day I seem to be able to get in contact with more people via phone.It’s been a huge relief to have heard now from most of my team to know they are okay. So hopefully more and more of you have managed to get in contact to check in on people and let friends and family know your situation.

As always, in a crisis, it is fabulous to see how people pull together and help each other. After, what sometimes seems like, crisis after crisis, we are getting pretty good at it. I hope we can all take this spirit into the future and connect with our neighbours and communities more regularly and keep looking out for each other.

We are thinking of everyone across the region and around the country who’ve been affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones or haven’t managed to resume contact and are hoping family and friends are okay.

Written by Laura Vodanovich, Director at MTG Hawke’s Bay18 February 2023.

Image: Napier beach, by Lisa Feyen.

21 February 2023

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