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Emergency pod on display at this year's A&P Show

Tuesday 11 October, 2022

There’s an important display at this year’s A&P Show that Tairāwhiti Emergency Management wants everyone in our community to see.

It’s an emergency pod -- a 20ft (6m) shipping container packed with emergency equipment that will provide the necessities of life.

Twenty of them will be distributed across our region over the next two years to prepare isolated communities in the event of a tsunami or flood.

Tairāwhiti Emergency Management Manager Ben Green encourages everyone to stop by and have a look at what’s going to be inside these emergency pods. They will support and sustain communities for a month in the event they are cut off by an adverse event.

The project is called the Tairāwhiti Marae Resilience and Emergency Preparedness Project – a partnership between Te Puni Kōkiri, Toitū Tairāwhiti and Te Kaunihera o Te Tairāwhiti (Gisborne District Council).

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou (TRONPnui) CEO George Reedy says Ngati Porou communities have faced a battering this year due to severe weather.

“Their geographic isolation, poor roading and limited access to services make them even more vulnerable.

“Despite the odds, every Ngati Porou community, along with their hapu leads, have mobilised and are ready to support whanau.

“We have highly organised and committed people within our Coast communities already working at ground level supporting whānau.  The pods will help continue to build Ngati Porou communities’ preparedness, resilience and emergency response.”

The first nine shipping containers have already been delivered to TRONPnui. There they’ll be painted with large identifying numbers on the roof that can be seen from the air, before being packed with the following emergency equipment that can provide the necessities of life:

  • Covertex emergency shelters – these are 9m x 6m deployable emergency shelters designed for adverse conditions
  • Emergency power – generators
  • Water treatment – filtration, storage and distribution systems
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Communications equipment including a satellite phone
  • Rapid deployment toilet
  • Non-perishable food supplies
  • Camp stretchers.

The pods will be by Marae that are most at risk of a tsunami and flooding. These containers will be placed in safe zones that are as close to the marae as possible – but not in the flood/tsunami zones.

Mr Green says this project prepares our community for the worst-case scenario.

“This project focuses on after the event. We need to ensure our most vulnerable residents have what they need to survive until they can be reconnected back to the rest of our region.

“We know Tairāwhiti sits in a high-risk seismic area. Just off our coast is the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, which GNS says has a 26 per cent chance of rupturing over the next 49 years causing an M9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.”

Mr Green says another part of the project will be to train communities on how to use the equipment ahead of time.

“It’s important there’s familiarity with all the equipment that is being resourced so our remote communities can support themselves. Hapū and whānau are the key resource that will activate this equipment, so we need to ensure they know how to use it.”

This is why the A&P Show was chosen to display an example of one of the pods.

“We know the show is a time when our whole region comes together, so what better day to show everyone what’s being done to prepare.”

As part of the Te Puni Kokiri ‘Kāinga Rua’ funding initiative, the first phase of the project has been funded by Te Puni Kōkiri with Phases Two and Three are being covered by Toitū Tairāwhiti (iwi collective that includes Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Rūnanga o Tūranganui-ā-Kiwa).

The project team also includes Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ), NZ Police and St John and NZ Red Cross to reflect the combined emergency approach in the event a State of Emergency is declared.