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Cyclone Gabrielle – a year on we stand together

Celebrating Cyclone Volunteers

This week marks a year since Cyclone Gabrielle devastated our region – taking the lives of loved ones, homes, livelihoods, pets, and livestock.

“Our focus this week is on our people who lost so much and still have a long way to go to recover,” says Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

Councils across Hawke’s Bay have organised services and gatherings this week, to enable people to gather to reflect on the effect of the cyclone, the hardships that were suffered, and how to continue to support those most affected.

On Sunday, the first of the gatherings was a Volunteer Appreciation Day; a thank you and acknowledgment for their hard mahi over those first horrific days, and the weeks and months that followed.

“A year on, we reflected on our amazing volunteers whose courage, selflessness, kindness, generosity, and tireless hard work has helped us get through,” said Mayor Hazlehurst.

“Through both the response and the recovery our region united with a determined spirit; our people worked together to support each other, especially those in extreme need: NZ Fire and Emergency, Police, Civil Defence, the National Emergency Management Agency, the NZ Defence Force, Surf Lifesaving, volunteer search and rescue, helicopter pilots, and local groups and individuals from schools, marae, churches, community centres and more, who used whatever they had to save the lives of so many, and then shelter and feed our distressed people.”

Mayor Hazlehurst expressed appreciation for the Evergreen Foundation for sponsoring the event, organised with Napier City Council. “It was wonderful; there was something for everyone; entertainment for the children, music, food, and plenty of opportunity for korero.”

The Volunteer Appreciation Day came ahead of a public commemoration service being held on the anniversary of the cyclone, February 14, in Civic Square, Hastings, from 11.30am.

“Everyone is invited to gather to reflect and remember the disaster, pay our respects to those who lost loved ones, their homes and livelihoods, and support each other as we work our way through recovery.”

Hastings District Council is asking people to wear Hawke’s Bay colours, black and white, as “a sign of solidarity and support for our people and our district”.

For a list of commemoration events across Hawke’s Bay, by both councils and community groups, see:\

12 February 2024

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