Cyclone Gabrielle update 9 – Outbound convoy headed to Herbertville

Published 16 Feb 2023

A joint Tararua effort to conduct welfare needs assessments and building inspections in the Herbertville area is being conducted today, after Council roading team managed to establish emergency access yesterday afternoon. At this stage the route is difficult and only passable by 4x4 vehicles and is not for public access.

The convoy consists of Ministry of Social Development, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua, Rangitāne o Tamaki nui-ā-Rua, FENZ, and Council staff, who will assess the communities immediate needs, survey all flood affected buildings and confirm the operational status and capabilities of the local emergency services.

Once the community have been reached, it is planned that care packs including food and water, prepared by Rangitāne o Tamaki nui-ā-Rua and Ngātī Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua, and a publicly donated generator will be distributed, as they remain isolated and without power over the last 48 hours.

The convoy is expected to arrive in Herbertville at approximatley 11:30am today. Stephen Dunn, the Welfare Manager said “The focus for today is to get to the Herbertville community and check on their welfare and buildings. We will offer any support we can that will help them over the next few days”.

This morning, Tracey Collis, Mayor of the Tararua District said “This convoy is a heart-warming example of community spirit and cooperation.  Herbertville is just one of several communities that have been isolated over the course of Cyclone Gabrielle and we are confident the convoy will get through to the community.  

Our roading staff have made an enormous effort in being able to punch a hole through to Herbertville due to the many slips and obstacles  - I would also like to thank the members of the public who have donated generators which we are delivering to isolated communities, they have been a huge help”.

Separately from the convoy, Wednesday afternoon through to this morning, council has managed to deliver public donated generator power and veterinary supplies in 4x4 vehicles and helicopter to Owahanga Station and residents along Te Uri Road.

Council conducted an outreach program in partnership with community groups, such as Tararua REAP, Rural Support Trust and  Rangitāne o Tamaki nui-ā-Rua and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua where residents of isolated communities have been contacted to check on their welfare.  The majority of people called were coping well and in good spirits. However, there were some who had welfare needs, including animal welfare concerns and power outages.  Council was able to address these needs throughout the course of Wednesday.