The Government has launched a $15 million short-term relief package to support Māori communities devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle and help accelerate their recovery.
The package will support a range of efforts including staffing for marae to undertake response and recovery activities, purchase equipment needed for the clean-up, purchase of replacement equipment and storage for food and taonga and support planning and co-ordination efforts.
Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson and Minister for Whānau Ora Hon Peeni Henare made the announcement while meeting with whānau at Waipatu Marae in Hastings today.
“Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and all whānau, hapū, and iwi affected. The regions hit by Cyclone Gabrielle have high Māori population and we know many communities have been hugely impacted,” Willie Jackson said.
“This package is about supporting the ongoing response and need while also building resilience so we are better prepared to respond to future weather events.
“Iwi and hapori Māori mobilised quickly to provide essential support and manaaki whānau Māori and the wider community. Some of this funding will go to things such as staffing marae to continue undertaking response and recovery activities as well as costs associated with clean up.
“Marae have been a central hub for our affected communities, especially many isolated ones. Funding in this package will help to future proof them through purchasing generators and communications equipment, installing solar power and equipment for pātaka kai like freezers so they are even better able to support their community.
“This package is about the immediate response, but it is also about building back better and ensuring our Marae and other support organisations have the resources and kit needed to support whanau in a time of crisis.
“This package is part of the Government’s rolling maul of support and addresses an urgent need to assist the iwi and Māori-led response and recovery efforts,” Willie Jackson said.
“Part of this investment will enable Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to continue to manage and coordinate Māori and Pacific responses to Cyclone Gabrielle, as well as the redeployment of resources to impacted regions,” Peeni Henare said.
“Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies have been working with affected whānau to link them to all forms of support including temporary accommodation, access to medication, the coordination and distribution of donations and supplies, mental and physical health support, and assistance with accessing insurance and applicable relief support funding.
“They provide holistic support to whānau, ensuring access to support is simple and efficient and the extras funding means they will be able to keep up this support,” Peeni Henare said.
“This funding also allows for Iwi to start building their resilience across their networks, which is crucial not just for this response but also to any future natural disasters,” Minister of Te Arawhiti: Māori-Crown Relations Kelvin Davis said.
“Māori communities know how to respond in times like these, it is our job to make sure they are well-equipped to do so,” Kelvin Davis said.
- $9 million will be distributed through Te Puni Kōkiri, an agency that is able to leverage its experience and relationships to support response efforts in Māori communities.
- $3 million will be distributed through Whānau Ora to fund Commissioning Agencies to manage and coordinate responses, to augment and deploy resources to impacted regions.
- $3 million will be distributed through Te Arawhiti to support direct iwi partnerships and relationship activities, strategic leadership and coordination.
Today’s package sits alongside a suite of supports that Government has swiftly put in place including:
- Over $50 million in Civil Defence payments to help affected whānau with food, bedding, clothing and temporary accommodation, available through Work and Income.
- $25 million for farmer and grower recovery funding that will assist whenua Māori owners and other farmers undertake urgent work such as fencing, clearing silt and repairing water infrastructure for livestock, available through MPI, and
- $11 million community support packages to help supplement the existing work of community groups and social sector providers of food and other services to whānau, available through MSD.
Further details on how funds will be distributed will be available on the Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Arawhiti website.