17 February 2023
On Behalf of Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and the three Wairarapa Councils as part of the Wairarapa Emergency Operations Centre
Reconnecting Wairarapa’s communities after the damaging Cyclone Gabrielle is the priority for all our councils and emergency services today.
Providing resources , services, to communities and support for the clean-up is the focus for responders ahead as the weather is set to calm down.
The response requires safety, and Wairarapa residents and visitors should not travel unless their journey is essential.
Steven May, Wairarapa Emergency Management Office Controller, said teams are out restoring roads but need the time and space to complete the work.
“Council roading teams are making every effort to ensure are roads are reopened as quickly as possible.
“Road journeys must be kept to a minimum to ensure this work can be completed. Avoid all travel. If you’re on the road, you’re in the way.”
Steven said the response team remains focused on the efforts to provide support and connections to communities.
“The teams have provided a sterling effort so far. We understand people will be tired and stressed so it is important to work together, and look out for yourself and each other. Please reach out to the Emergency Management Office or your local council or iwi for help and advice where needed.”
Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell welcomed the efforts to help people on the District’s east coast and rural areas.
“It was a really tremendous effort by all involved yesterday. I would especially like to thank the NZ Defence Force, who drove through by Unimog to provide food and water and supplies to Tinui and Castlepoint.
“There was about 5 tonnes of food donated by Countdown, and I would like to thank them for their generosity.
“The focus for the NZDF today will then be on assisting Tinui community with the clean-up – soldiers staying on site overnight in Tinui provide assistance.
“Our coastal and rural communities are at the front of our minds right now.”
A second Unimog has now been made available by the Defence Force and will join the response in Tinui.
Upper Hutt Community Rescue (NZ-RT9) will be helping reach out to communities from Tinui to Whakataki and Mataikona, with the Rural Support Trust also carrying out welfare checks, with a focus on the Tinui Valley.
Volunteering time and financial help is more valuable than donations of goods. Many people and organisations are keen to help, but donations of food and household items may end up unused, or even become a burden in the response.
Carterton Mayor Hon. Ron Mark said: “I know all of Wairarapa will be eager to help, as that’s the kind of community we are. I know from first-hand experience what these situations are like for those affected and responders. It is important we direct and channel our efforts in the right way. Please consider donations or volunteering your time in the first instance.”
South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connolly said roading teams were actively working on opening up access to areas such as Glendhu, Pahaoa and White Rock/Te Rata roads.
“We have several rural and coastal communities disconnected from the rest of our District. Our teams are out helping clear the roads and ensure services can continue. Please contact your local council if you notice any slips or damage to roads. We can make sure we add this to the list.
“Please keep travel to essential journeys only.”
- NZDF are returning to Tinui and Castlepoint today – second Unimog joining response.
- Upper Hutt Community Rescue carried out welfare checks in Tinui and Whareama yesterday and this will continue.
- FENZ also involved in welfare visits across Wairarapa, as are Rural Support Trust – particular focus on Tinui Valley.
- Non-essential travel should be avoided – please! This applies across the Wairarapa – roads closed to Flat Point and White Rock. Waiohine Gorge Road closed due to slip.
- Please consider donating money or volunteering time instead of giving food or provisions. Other details will be provided shortly on local support. Wairarapa Marae and Iwi are arranging a collection. More information available at https://www.facebook.com/KoWairarapaTenei/posts/pfbid02RSkupmZyZFsjzA6ichpb7Lig6n1gAN58F2girVko8QLUFSJe3e655R2osFniw934l
- People who are seeking relatives in other areas they have lost contact with should use the police’s online form athttps://forms.police.govt.nz/person-inquired-for?fbclid=IwAR38pZ8htA3tRU6lkCVeNggfsuTKBydTODGAeFOYbLGpBsSZeIFyTM4tqdk