Cyclone Gabrielle belts Northland

By Muriwai Hei

Northland is still dealing with the havoc. Cyclone Gabrielle has wreaked havoc, and thousands may be without power for the rest of the week.

Thousands of homes in Northland are without power possibly until the end of the week but many local providers have turned their kura and marae into emergency evacuation hubs for families in the coastal Northland region. Ngurunguru marae has turned its marae into an evacuation hub and has had 21 families arrive. Ngunguru frontline worker Marline Penehio says they have had power off and on.

“So it's about being resourceful and what we have around our marae. Our marae has been great for us to be safe and warm. We have enough food for us for a few days. And we also have enough water without our water tanks overflowing. And it has been great. We also, from our whare kai, make up kai to feed our kaumatua and kuia in their homes around Ngunguru.”

Northland goes into recovery mode.

Three hours away from Ngunguru the rural community of Mitimiti has turned Te Kura o Matihetihe into a hub for whānau. Locals there are more worried about freshwater supplies. Karen Murray, the local liaison with civil defence, explains.  

“Once the creek floods, we can't draw any water. So we've only got a capacity of maybe about seven days, five to seven days of freshwater for our community."

Te Runanga o Te Rarawa has activated a plan to ease the burden on families in the region. “We've had word from our Runanga o Te Rarawa. It has offered generators for marae or other places that will need it.  The Top Energy website has estimated that our power won't be back on till the 17th, which is Friday," Murray says.

With the declaration of a national state of emergency, Northland will receive additional resources and help from the government.