Cyclone Gabrielle update 11 – More teams headed to Whetukura, Te Uri and Pongaroa today

Published 17 Feb 2023

After the successful outreach missions to Herbertville and Ākitio yesterday, council is to conduct more outreach missions, this time to the communities of Whetukura, Te Uri and Pongaroa.

The outreach missions are a joint effort by Ministry of Social Development, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua, Rangitāne o Tamaki nui-ā-Rua, FENZ, and Council staff.

The aim of the outreach mission to the Te Uri and Whetukura area is to assess welfare needs of the community. The aim of the Pongaroa mission is to assess welfare needs and survey buildings. The team will also be going back to Herbertville to continue yesterday’s welfare checks and building checks.

Councillor Michael Long will be on the convey to Whetukura and Te Uri, and Councillors Sharon Wards and Steve Wallace will be going to Pongaroa.

Ahead of the ground mission to the Whetukura and Te Uri area, a heli drop supplied two households with much necessary fuel, food and veterinary supplies. Where necessary, other aerial missions will be conducted throughout the day to deliver generators and fuel to other isolated communities.

After access was gained to Pongaroa yesterday, Council were able to deliver palleted water to the community. This was necessary as Pongaroa had been issued a precautionary Boil Water Notice. Water has been delivered to the Pongaroa Hotel and Pongaroa Community Hall for immediate public consumption. A separate mission to Pongaroa is also planned today in order to deliver a water tanker.

Yesterday’s outreach missions to Ākitio and Herbertville were well-received by the communities. The residents were, overall, in good spirits and it was evident they were working hard as communities to look after one another.

After Council teams managed to establish a route to Herbertville and Akitio yesterday and bring in a power generator to the cellphone tower, telephone company workers were able to restore tele communications in both communities.

Tracey Collis, Mayor of the Tararua District said “Our incredible communities are pulling together to ensure no stone is left unturned in an effort to deal with the State of Emergency declared as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Even though passable routes were made by council, these routes are challenging and in some areas, still extremely dangerous. There has been some use of these routes by members of the public and we strongly remind and discourage the use of them by the public.

Our key message to the public is do not attempt to travel to Herbertville or Ākitio.  If you have any concerns for friends and family please call them. If this is not possible, please call Council at 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110 where your concerns will be passed on to our response teams.