June 26, 2023
Tairāwhiti iwi take on flood response
The state of emergency has been lifted in Gisborne rain after a weekend of heavy rain that brought a new round of slips and flooding.
The weekend also exposed a rift between the Gisborne District Council-led civil defence emergency management and iwi, with Te Aitanga a Māhaki taking matters into its own hands in the Te Karaka area and evacuating residents at the start of the emergency.
Te Karaka Area School acting board chair, Pimia Wehi, says as well as sending people to Te Poho o Rawiri Marae in Gisborne, they set up an evacuation point on Cookson’s Hill with a marquee, portaloos and kitchen in case there was a repeat of Cyclone Gabrielle-levels of flooding.
“So 19 weeks ago when our people were forced to flee their homes, approximately 400 to 500 of our people were pretty much left to die on a local hill with no shelter, no kai and no resources, so for us with this response team led by our local iwi Te Aitanga a Māhaki, it was important we were able to provide resources for our whanau,” Ms Wehi says.
State highway 2 north was closed because of major cracks in the road at Otoko, and SH35 was also affected with flooding, slips, drop outs and silt.