Source / Facebook
Far North Mayor Moko Tepania (Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa, Te Rarawa) has gone live on social media to reassure whānau preparations are underway for the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle, which is forecast to bring severe weather to the North from Sunday.
"I have a lot of confidence in our Civil Defence staff and our Council staff that we are as prepared as we can be as an organisation to respond when and where we need to. To make sure all of our communities are safe," Tepania said.
In a social update Saturday afternoon, he added, "While it looks like the worst of Cyclone Gabrielle will miss us, we still have heavy rain and winds forecast with an Orange warning in place from MetService New Zealand."
MetService's Orange heavy rain warning for Northland is currently in place for 9pm Saturday through to 9pm Sunday.
Tepania took to Facebook Live on Friday afternoon - from the Emergency Operations Centre at the District Council's headquarters in Kaikohe - in what turned out to be his first ever 'live'.
"We've got some staff over there laughing at me because I've never done a live before," a smiling Tepania said.
"I thought I'd take you on a little tour so you can see what it's all about."
After showing whānau where the staff hubs would be - "We've just been putting out all of the vests so that we have all of our staff in the right places, when and where we need to" - Tepania then moved on to the data collation centre
"All the staff who will be sitting out in those desks will be ready to feed data, which will then go up on these screens here. We'll have maps for the Far North, actually of Northland."
"Once we hear from the ground, an issue has come through - actually, this happened only two weeks ago, Northland Anniversary weekend. We had a video come through from a whanaunga which showed a west coast road at Mitimiti in a really bad state. That got tagged, put on the map and then it went out over our 'comms' (communications) straight away to let everyone know it was closed."
"So we've got it all set up now."
What whānau can do right now
"What I'd encourage whānau to do right now is to: one, make sure you've got a Whānau Plan in place. Check out GetReady.govt.nz. There's some awesome resources there."
"You can check out our Northland Community Response Plans at the Northland Regional Council website, nrc.govt.nz. For the Far North, we have 20 community response plans. Within those plans, is where you'll find all of the information about what you need to do, where you need to go."
"Finally, make sure on social media you follow Civil Defence Northland where all information will flow through from our information centres over there, follow our local councils here in Northland. So that's the Far North District Council, Whangārei District Council and Kaipara District Council, where you'll be able to lodge storm-related events that will then feed into this data centre we just walked through now, but also where you'll find out about road closures and things like that."
"Use this time, as we wait to see when and where ex-Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle will land and the severity of it, to make sure you're prepared."