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Central Hawke’s Bay Community responds to Waipawa Main Street Fire


A devastating fire that destroyed the Four Square in Waipawa’s main street on Sunday, is bringing the Central Hawke’s Bay community together, to create opportunities and support local business owners, staff and others affected by the blaze.

At 4.29am on Sunday, May 30 - Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) responded to a call for assistance at the Waipawa Four Square and Lulu and Max After School Care Centre in Waipawa.

Multiple fire engines attended the blaze, which rapidly engulfed the building. Central Hawke’s Bay District Council staff were on site shortly after, providing support to wider response efforts.

Council, along with partners, including the Ministry of Social Development are now providing assistance to staff affected, and the wider community.

Having destroyed the local Four Square Supermarket and displacing Lulu and Max After School Care, flow-on effects from the event have been significant, Mayor Alex Walker said.

“While the Waipawa Main Street fire left us all devastated, how we are responding speaks to the strength of our community and our spirit of service in Central Hawke’s Bay,” Mayor Walker said.

“This is #togetherwethrive in action! I love this community and I am so proud of how businesses, community, volunteers and Council have all come together to support Waipawa.”

With access to a supermarket and groceries providing challenges for those with limited transport in Waipawa, a number of initiatives have been developed by the community and led or co-ordinated by Council to support local people.

A collaborative approach and co-ordinated effort across agencies, has shown the strength of Central Hawke’s Bay and its ability to thrive in the face of adversity.

Key initiatives include:

Free Supermarket Shuttle Service

From Thursday, June 3, a free Supermarket Shuttle Service will be available to transport Waipawa people to Waipukurau.
The initiative was made possible by Waipukurau Rotary and Mr Apple – who provided the vehicle, Stephenson Transport Ltd who will fuel it – and overall coordination from Council.

  • To utilise the free Supermarket Shuttle Service, stop into Waipawa Library or give them a call on 06) 857 8123 - as bookings are essential.
  • The Shuttle will pick up passengers from Waipawa Library at 9am and 1pm daily, and drop them directly home afterwards.

If you require wheelchair accessibility - please text or call Lions Mobility Transport on: 021 295 1312. Please note bookings are essential and a koha would be appreciated.
Grocery Phone Ordering is Back

Waipukurau New World have reinstated their phone grocery shopping service, used throughout COVID-19. Call 0800 463 996 and ask for Robert to place your order.
This service will be available to Waipawa residents, who are unable to get to Waipukurau to complete their shopping. Delivery is available for both online and phone orders. Charges may apply.
Learn Online Shopping

Head into Waipawa Library, to learn more about how to do your grocery shopping online, or to access the internet and computers. Staff will be happy to talk through any questions.
Ministry of Social Development Payment Card

The Ministry of Social Development have relationships with a number of suppliers in Waipawa, and since Sunday, have reached out to new businesses to extend where their Payment Card can be used.
Give them a call on 0800 559 009 from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm, Saturday or go to: to find out where the card will be accepted.

Notes to the editor:

1. The Central Hawke’s Bay District Council stood up its incident management team and worked alongside FENZ on Sunday morning to respond to the needs of the community, with a focus on safety and welfare needs.

2. Project Thrive was an extensive, major community consultation activity that gathered more than 4,000 individual pieces of feedback and developed a new vision for the future of Central Hawke’s Bay. 

To find out more about Project Thrive, visit our website:


Media contact 
Monique Davidson, Chief Executive | T 06 857 8060, M 027 422 9977 
Amy Shanks, Communications Support | M 027 307 9548

4 June 2021

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