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Hawke’s Bay leaders unite for locally led Cyclone Gabrielle recovery


Hawke’s Bay Mayors, Regional Council Chair and Iwi leaders are united in their commitment to rebuilding a stronger Hawke’s Bay following the devastating effects of Cyclone Gabrielle. Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawkes Bay and co-chair of Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay Matariki Governance Group says that Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay leaders are clear that recovery efforts need to be co-ordinated and led locally.

“Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay faces unimaginable devastation and loss. Most of us have never experienced a disaster of this scale, with this much impact on our lives, livelihoods, whānau, homes, whenua, farms, orchards, vineyards, neighbourhoods and communities. “Many of our hardest hit communities are those who were fragile before this event and now face even more hardship.

“We know that to be successful, Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay’s recovery needs to be regionally led and locally responsive. It also needs a strong and simple architecture and regional leadership to enable the brave decision-making that will be required, at pace to give our communities the confidence they need that support is on the way.”

The Government has moved quickly to establish the Extreme Weather Recovery Committee framework and appoint regional Ministerial leads to co-ordinate central Government’s response to the devastating effects of Cyclone Gabrielle. Mayor Walker says that Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay leaders have written to Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Robertson today, heartened that central Government is also moving at pace.

“We acknowledge the appointment of a taskforce led by Sir Brian Roche to feed into and report back to the Committee and, as a starting point, immediate funding support for businesses to begin the process of recovery and to restore connectivity between communities. “We know there is a huge task ahead of us, and we look forward to uniting on the hard mahi, as we work to re-build a stronger Hawke’s Bay” Mayor Walker says.

Leon Symes Chair Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa, and co-chair of Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay Matariki Governance Group says that in Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay, local government and Iwi leaders are united.

“We are committed to working together on re-building a stronger Hawke’s Bay - mā tatou ki te takiwā o Kahungunu. One where everyone, everywhere shares in the prosperity we know we can achieve. One where every household and every whānau are able to thrive, our industries and businesses again flourish, and where we are more responsive to climate change.”

Hawke’s Bay already has the regional foundations to re-build back stronger including:

• Strong relationships

• A proven history of working together

• Strong communities – of common interest like business and industry, and of place.

Mr Symes says that re-building a stronger Te Matau a Maui Hawke’s Bay will require partnership, funding and legislative support, as well as enablement by both central, regional and local government agencies working alongside Iwi partners. “Regional leadership, based around our economic and social inclusion strategy - Matariki - will be our platform for our values and vision.

“This brings local government, iwi and business together and is the home of our brand-new Regional Economic Development Agency (REDA) led by a regionally- appointed board, with Alasdair MacLeod as Chair.

“The establishment of our REDA at this time, provides a unique opportunity for regional recovery. Despite the pace at which we are working on response in our region and communities, we have quickly turned our minds to long-term recovery issues and how we can organise leadership for the regional recovery in a simple and practical way.

“We have big issues, big aspirations and vision that we will all need to work on with urgency and clarity. Our leaders look forward to working with Cyclone Recovery Minister Grant Robertson and Minister Stuart Nash, our regional Ministerial lead, and relevant agencies, sharing our vision for Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay and our strategy for how we build back a stronger, more equitable, resilient and thriving region,” he says.

1 March 2023

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