'Been hell' - Hawke's Bay farmer overcome by emotion recalling floods

A Hawke's Bay farmer was overcome by emotion when recalling the awful time East Coast residents have faced after flooding from Cyclone Gabrielle and other rain events in 2023.

Speaking in the small farming settlement of Putorino today, Shaw Mackintosh explained what has been the toughest part of the recent floods.

"Keeping food from going rotten in the freezer as we don't get into town much and just making sure we have got all our mates out," he said, choking up.

"It's been pretty hell, just not knowing where everyone is and just hoping everyone is OK.

"You see reports on the news of Eskdale getting wiped out and we're just pretty grateful that most of us are alright."

The sheep and beef farmer added most people he knows have been located and there weren't too many dead sheep and cows on his farm.

"Things are looking better every day I suppose," he said. "The last couple of weeks have been something else."

When asked what the area most needs know, Mackintosh simply replied "sunshine".

His mum and local civil defence officer Sue Mackintosh agreed that things are starting to get better with more supplies coming through.

"People are supporting each other and there is still a lot of work to do which is very daunting," she said.

Relief package for Māori communities

It comes as the Government today announced a new $15 million short-term relief package for Māori communities devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The funding announcement was made by Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare at Waipatu Marae in Hastings today.

The package will support a range of efforts including staffing for marae to undertake response and recovery activities, purchase equipment needed for the clean-up, and purchase of replacement equipment.

It would also extend to storage for food and taonga, and support planning and coordination efforts.

Jackson said the package was about supporting the ongoing response and need, while also "building resilience" to improve preparation for future weather events.

"Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and all whānau, hapū, and iwi affected. The regions hit by Cyclone Gabrielle have high Māori population and we know many communities have been hugely impacted.

"Iwi and hapori Māori (Māori communities) mobilised quickly to provide essential support and manaaki whānau Māori and the wider community."

He said marae had been a "central hub" for affected communities, especially isolated ones.

"Funding in this package will help to future proof them through purchasing generators and communications equipment, installing solar power and equipment for pātaka kai like freezers so they are even better able to support their community."


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