February 22, 2023
St Josephs offers refuge in cyclone
St Joseph’s Māori girl’s boarding school is resuming classes after a week of serving as a haven for people displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Morehu Tetomo, the chair of the hostel management board, says school principal Dame Georgina Kingi invoked the spirit of manaakitanga to get the school community behind the effort.
They were able to take in groups of people, including RSE workers who had been trapped on the roof of their accommodation for seven hours, and the elderly residents of a flooded rest home.
“All due respect to our civil defence in the region of Hawke’s Bay, it was just too slow so Miss Kingi with the contacts she has, we had a generator turn up to power the school. I and a few other fathers, we stayed up all night to make sure we were security for our manuhiri. We were pretty much isolated but we did what we did and we got through it,” Mr Tetomo says.