February 22, 2023
Flood chance to build nation back better
A Hawke’s Bay community organiser says people can’t let their dreams flow away with the floodwaters from Cyclone Gabrielle.
Denis O’Reilly says the Tutaekuri River went through a newly-built papakainga at Waiohiki between Hastings and Taradale, but the new meeting house on a traditional site stayed above the water and sheltered about 150 travellers and locals through the storm.
He says the young people the hapu has invested in over the years are leading the recovery, and there’s a chance to turn the tragedy into something better.
“If we handle this the right way, this will be a nation-building experience. There’s been a lot of divisiveness lately, some politicians picking away at racial scabs and all that sort of stuff, but crikey – I was sitting outside my house, which is munted, a bit depressed, and here’s this army of pakeha families arrive. We live in a wonderful land,” Mr O’Reilly says.
He says the cyclone was a wake up call from Tawhirimatea and Papatuanuku.