Family's desperate search for man missing after Cyclone Gabrielle

Tue, Feb 21

The family of a man missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle have spoken of their desperate search to find him, with no leads on his whereabouts.

Joseph Ahuriri, 40, was travelling to the East Coast to visit family when the cyclone began impacting Hawke's Bay.

His partner Clarissa Poi tried to contact him last Tuesday night but couldn't get through.

"I hoped it was just due to lack of service in Hawke’s Bay," she told 1News.

"Then when more power and service came back on and the roads opened up and there was still nothing — it started getting a lot heavier."

She then drove to Hastings to search for Joseph, also checking the Napier hotel he had booked in to stay at with no luck.

Poi checked all the evacuation centres, enlisting the aid of locals to locate ones which weren't officially listed, again with no trace of her loved one.

"I know that if he had seen some flooding on the roads he would have tried to get home no matter what, he could be anywhere."

Poi said she was trying to put on a brave face for his eight children, which are part of a blended family, "but we still have no answers going on eight days now, we are worried if he's safe and warm and if he'll come back".

"I know there's so many other people missing and I feel for all of them."

Joseph's mother Jacqualine Ahuriri added: "We all want him home."

She said the hardest part is "not knowing". The family is hoping someone recognises Joseph's face from a media story and reaches out.

It comes as thousands remain unaccounted for after Cyclone Gabrielle swept through the North Island, killing at least 11 people, with more feared dead.

Another family of a father missing in Hakwe's Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle are also hoping he is found safe and well.

Robert Collins and Bella.

Robert Collins had only recently moved to Westshore in Napier for work when Cyclone Gabrielle struck.

His former partner and the mother of his daughter, Dayna Moore, posted an image of Robert and his devoted dog Bella, who is also missing, on Facebook.

"Looking for my daughter's father Robert Collins and his dog Bella she's always by his side," Moore wrote.

His family have not heard from Robert since the cyclone struck.

His mother and sister are now on their way from the Palmerston North region to search for him.


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