Calls for marae to have Civil Defence funding for disasters

Isolated Māori aren’t getting enough resources to survive amid fears they may be forgotten days after Cyclone Gabrielle smashed some regions, according to a national Māori housing advocate organisation.

Te Matapihi is calling on the government to provide funding to Māori "first responders" such as marae.

Te Korowai Hauora Ō Hauraki chief executive Tammy Dehar said the Māori communities needed assistance with road repairs and were looking for futureproofing solutions for weather events.

“They’re not a one-off. We’ve been experiencing similar severe weather events since January. We’ve had four to date.”

“We have a number of isolated pockets within the Coromandel; we have a commonality of slips and the commonality of roads that are pakaru, which is the norm.”

Dehar said that there was an expectation of iwi, marae, hapu and their whanau to be the first responders in natural disasters.

“Having that recognition, without bureaucracy, for some of the funding is what we are advocating for on behalf of these rōpu.”

Dehar said the whanau were thankful to iwi for food rations that were made available but said they were still facing challenges.

“There is no access to petrol stations to get gas or petrol was one of the issues that we had."

Dehar said there had been limited access to generators and natural gas for cooking, so people had been relying on marae for access to cooking.

“There is a reliance that our marae are a part of the response but it’s unfair and unjust when they’re not funded to support the response.”

Dehar said funding was needed before a disaster occurs so marae could be first responders and support their people.