Urgent Cyclone Relief Fund Launched  

A targetted regional fund has been set up in cyclone ravaged Hawke’s Bay to help those in the community worst affected by the disaster.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation has launched the HB Cyclone Relief Fund via its webpage, as a way for New Zealanders to donate much needed financial assistance.  This will support the region’s charitable organisations working tirelessly on the ground assisting those in desperate need.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation is the region’s robust charitable giving vehicle, utilized in times of disaster to prioritize and funnel donations urgently to overwhelmed charitable organisations.  This will provide operational assistance and support during the recovery period over the coming weeks.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation Executive Officer Amy Bowkett says it’s the safest and easiest way for people who are feeling helpless, to support large scale regional relief efforts.

“The events of Cyclone Gabrielle have been catastrophic for so many communities across Hawke’s Bay and the need for support is now critical. I lived in Puketapu and we lost our home when the Tutaekuri River broke its banks. We were evacuated safely after three days of war-time spirit in our subdivision, and I am well aware there are many other isolated communities still awaiting rescue.’

“As a member of Community Foundations NZ, Hawke’s Bay Foundation is the safest and most effective way to distribute donations quickly to local disaster relief agencies.  We have the team, the infrastructure and the reputation that gives donors the confidence they need to ensure every cent of their donation is getting to where it’s needed most.  Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s Distributions Committee has expert reach in the local charitable sector and will ensure all funds are distributed with urgency, as early as possible.”

As a Community Foundation, Hawke’s Bay Foundation manages and grows donations and bequests in one regional endowment Fund but in times of crisis has the ability to create special funds (called ‘pass through funds’) where donations are not invested, but are collected safely and distributed in entirety to those in need.

From Wairoa in Northern Hawke’s Bay to Central Hawke’s Bay in the south and everywhere in between, every cent donated through Hawke’s Bay Foundation will help to assist organisations procure the provisions necessary to get vital supplies to people in need, and will target improved access to services such as psychological support for flood victims.

Re-Source founder Nadine Gaunt and her team have been working around the clock dispatching clothing, food, bedding and essential supplies to displaced families with immediate needs.  With over 100 volunteers and four vans running (three donated by Martin Roofing contractors), Nadine says money for fuel and wages to keep their drivers on the road is an urgent priority.

“Ordinarily we collaborate with over 70 organisations here on the ground, right now they are all operating under extreme pressure.  Efficiencies are key and for us, having enough funding to ensure the reliability of our drivers is what this Fund will hopefully provide.

“We are grateful Hawke’s Bay Foundation has been responsive to the immediate needs of our dislocated communities.”

Emergency relief efforts are ongoing in Hastings, Napier, Central Hawke’s Bay and in Wairoa where much of the township has been rendered to mud and silt.  Hawke’s Bay Foundation Chair Giles Pearson says the biggest priority is reaching those isolated and stranded.

“We are starting to come to terms with the devastation across the district and the region but our biggest challenge right now is making sure that our people have the basic needs of food, fuel and medical supplies. Our supporting agencies have spent countless hours since the cyclone gathering information to assess parts of our district in most need.”

With many roads and bridges closed or destroyed, local contractors have been working non-stop to access communities still cut off.

Giles Pearson says donating to a locally driven and distributed Fund is the safest and most impactful thing people can do to help.

“This is going to take months and years for our district to  rebuild, rebuilding homes and infrastructure will be colossal but the mental health impacts will be felt for a very long time to come.

“This Fund will bolster Hawke’s Bay’s recovery and help sustain the monumental task ahead our charities face supporting displaced families and communities worst affected.  Please, if you can, give generously as every little bit helps.”

Heeding the plea for donations is internationally acclaimed artist Sting and global entertainment company Live Nation. The British superstar announced yesterday that in light of the disaster and his cancelled concert at Napier’s Mission Estate, he will instead donate to Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s Cyclone Relief Fund.

Businesses or individuals can support this critical Fund for Hawke’s Bay by accessing the Donate page on our website https://www.hawkesbayfoundation.org.nz/donate-now/