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Region moves to recovery phase

Friday 1 April, 2022

Tairāwhiti will come out of its state of emergency status at 10.30am today.

The decision was made by Tairāwhiti Civil Defence group controller David Wilson in consultation with Mayor Rehette Stoltz, who agreed that with the weather abating it was time to make the shift. “There is still plenty going on across the region, but it is now time to move our focus into the recovery phase,” she said.

The weather event led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the early hours of 23 March and then extended on Tuesday this week. Mayor Stoltz said it had been a tough time for many across Tairāwhiti with record rainfall, rivers reaching levels that have meant evacuation and a huge amount of damage on the roads and to properties.

“I ask that people be patient while our contractors continue their work to reconnect our region.”

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said although the state of emergency had been lifted there is still support for communities across Tairāwhiti, should they need it. “We have a lot of work ahead of us yet. There is a huge amount of clean-up to be done which will require people power and machinery – some of which may need to come from outside of the district.”

She estimates the full recovery of the region may take up to 24 months to fix properly. “The wide-ranging extent of the damage to the region and the effect this event has had on critical infrastructure, bridges, roads and properties makes it very challenging.”

Ms Thatcher Swann said she is hopeful the region will receive Government funding to help with the rebuild. “Our prioritisation process will be critical to ensure we are able to restore access first temporarily and then come through with more permanent solutions.”

Anyone who needs support is encouraged to call Council on 0800 653 800. Any damage can be reported by filing a request for service by using the GDC FIX app on any smartphone, email service@gdc.govt.nz or via the eFix service on Council’s website.