Regional | Cyclone Gabrielle

Ngāti Kahungunu still waiting for funds for cyclone relief

Ngāti Kahungunu chair Bayden Barber says his iwi had been given close to $1 million to help recover from Cyclone Gabrielle but it's not enough.

He says that amount went straight to Māori communities and marae from many fundraising events over the three months since the cyclone.

But he says the iwi has not received some funds.

"We all know groups such as the New Zealand Red Cross received large sums of funding but they're yet to distribute it to the affected communities. Maybe there you will find an answer. We, hapū and marae, are still waiting for those funds.”

"Some groups have raised funds and sent them, while others are yet to distribute them,” Barber says.

'Supporting vulnerable people'

Red Cross New Zealand has responded, saying, "100% of the $25 million" is going back into the communities harshly affected by the Cyclone including Hawke's Bay, Te Tairāwhiti, Waikato, Tauranga, Tāmaki Makaurau and Northland.

Red Cross emergency management and international general manager Sean Stewart says the purpose of the fund is to support vulnerable people, "and that includes a real focus on Māori needs in these regions”.

The Red Cross has allocated $4.1 million in grant funding across these regions and says it is pleased to have been able to support a number of hapu, Māori trusts, marae and other groups supporting Māori with a significant portion of this funding.

“Within the Ngāti Kahungunu rohe, these grants include $70,000 for the Ngāti Pārau Trust for temporary shelter and water pumps, $1.1 million to the Wairoa Liveable Homes, $32,000 to Ngā Toi Hawke/'s Bay for clean-up and wellbeing support, and $50,000 to the Manawa Ora Hawkes Bay Trust for temporary accommodation. We have also granted Ngāti Kahungunu $25,000 toward hosting a community resilience event,” Stewart says.

The government has also announced $1 billion in funding to be spread out to those affected, for cyclone recovery.

Barber is hopeful this will be a beacon of light for whānau in the region still struggling.

Don't forget

“We may receive some support from the $1 billion national relief fund. To my knowledge, most of that will come to us and that's a good start. Besides that, yes, some funds have already been allocated to some iwi, hapū, and marae, which have been used to do the work needed.”

Of $1 billion being allocated to Ngāti Kahungunu Barber says, the funds will be distributed to the marae most affected including Porangahau, Ōmahu, Waiōhiki, Moteo, Pētane, Tangoio and also into Te Wairoa.

Three months after the cyclone the devastation left behind in the region is still "very fresh" for locals and Barber fears that Ngāti Kahungunu may be forgotten.

“Yes. This part of the recovery is the most challenging because everyone has returned home, the NZ Army and all those groups that supported us in that first month. However, some families remain disheartened, as do some marae. So, these things are quite challenging, but we're reviewing the funding and will have more to say come the end of the week.”

The Red Cross is working closely with Te Arawhiti and Te Puni Kokiri on how else marae and hapū can be supported, and is hopeful it can announce more funding in coming weeks.