Council and marae work together on civil defence safety

By Herewini Waikato

This weekend a two-day civil defence wānanga was held in the Whakarewarewa Village for all marae around Rotorua and some as far as out a Pikiao, Horohoro and over to Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa.

It was about strengthening marae civil defence plans in case of any future emergencies.

“Just about every time there is a flood somewhere around the world what do you see on TV?” Rotorua Lakes District Council council wānanga facilitator Bruce Horne said.

“It's a person on top of a car getting rescued by a helicopter because they hadn't prepared properly and they thought ‘oh yeah I can get through this’. And this preparation, this planning, this forward thinking, is what makes all the difference.”

Hemi Waerea of Te Arawa was instrumental in pulling in close to 70 people each day.

Preparing marae, hapū and iwi for future civil emergencies.

Ready for any emergency

“It's about being ready for any emergencies: floods, earthquakes, things like that. And it's about receiving help and support from the council,” he said.

In a statement, the council said it was pleased with “the fantastic turnout at the hui to discuss the vital role they could play in the event of a state of emergency”. “We know that in an emergency marae are often depended on to support the community response.

The council said there were many scenarios that might result in a civil defence emergency, not just earthquakes.

 “Access to emergency resources can become scarce or cut off in a civil defence emergency, which means communities may need to look after themselves for a period of time.

“Part of our civil defence role as a council is to work with communities to encourage preparedness and to help them develop response plans.”