Regional | Wairoa

Emergency and disaster resilience pods vital in first 30 hours post-cyclone

One year on from Cyclone Gabrielle, the Wairoa district is still facing hardships and potential threats from extreme weather events.

Luckily, Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae was a part of the initial installation of 21 emergency and disaster resilience pods (EPODs) in the distict days before the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae general manager Rangi Manuel says although the EPODs were vital in the times of great distress, there were things they could have done better for the community.

“In regards to communication we could have done better. There was a lot of frustration from whānau not only in the district but also from outside who were wanting to make contact with their people, so we could have done that better. We have talked about that since and reviewing what we could have done better,” Manuel says.

The EPOD containers were funded by Te Puni Kōkiri and housed emergency provisions for whānau during the first 30 hours after the cyclone.

What’s inside the EPOD’s?

  • heat and lighting resources
  • generators
  • shelter
  • hygiene provisions
  • food
  • health and safety kits
  • emergency tools

A total of 25 EPOD containers were distributed to the Hawkes Bay region. Wairoa became the home for 21 of those containers. But look back, Manuel says there was a greater need for extra provisions.

“There is certainly a need for more and the recovery team, the district council, have got some funding to acquire more,” he says.

EPODs are an innovation created in Hawke’s Bay in 2022, designed to aid communities in times of struggle amidst strong weather events in recent times.

Manuel says their preparation for the cyclone was a stroke of luck.

“We had already placed a lot of the containers but we hadn’t undertaken the training about the resilient nature of the job. We went around and delivered the keys and delivered the last one on the Sunday before the cyclone.”