North Island Tropical Cyclone

Cyclone Gabrielle: Gabrielle has Passed But Her Impact Remains

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15 March 2023

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As you’re aware, cyclone Gabrielle devastated parts of New Zealand. Between 6 to 16 February, the severe tropical cyclone tumbled its way across the world and made a significant impact on cities in the North Island of New Zealand.

As a woman who has grown up in New Zealand, I have never seen weather of this sort (with the earlier flash floods that Auckland had faced a week prior). 

Read our earlier piece on Cyclone Gabrielle here: Cyclone Gabrielle: Sending Love to Our People of Aotearoa. One idea that is really honed in on, is that New Zealanders are resilient. They care deeply about one another, and the sense of community as a nation is strong. We’ve seen this time and time again – through COVID-19, through the Christchurch mosque shootings, and now, with the devastation this cyclone has brought. 

The way in which Gabrielle ravaged New Zealand was inequitable. Regions like Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne were completely demolished and sent back to an archaic and almost apocalyptic way of living for a few days with no cell reception, no internet, no clean water and no power. 

Hawke's Bay post Cyclone Gabrielle
Hawke’s Bay post Cyclone Gabrielle

My partner was in Gisborne for work when the cyclone hit… I didn’t have contact with him for 5 days and my mind was running loops around the worst case scenario. Was he impacted by the cyclone severely? Did he have enough tinned and canned food? What were they doing? Were they able to work? When I finally heard from him (after he connected to a Star Link on a truck that had it) we caught up on the events of the last few days. Pak ‘N Save and other grocers had no eftpos terminals so ordinary residents turned to looting for food and supplies. Nobody could get in contact with loved ones, homes were destroyed and so many people were displaced. 

New Zealand well and truly had never experienced loss on this scale. It’s sad to say that the ramifications of cyclone Gabrielle were beyond expectations and extremely significant. Reports are that the death toll is only rising as days go by. 

Wigan Bridge in Gisborne

As we hit the one month mark from the cyclone, it’s important to remember that people still need our help. The roads to the Hawke’s Bay from Auckland are still severely destroyed, people are displaced without homes and belongings. 

As I sit in my house in Auckland writing this, I think about all the people who still need love, support and a helping hand.

If you want to reach out and do your part, here are some great ways to donate:

  1. Red Cross New Zealand Disaster Relief Fund – a fund established to help assist with natural disaster recovery.
  1. Hawke’s Bay Foundation – a special fund established to help the worst hit region by the cyclone. 
  1. SPCA – helping rescue and look after displaced animals impacted by the cyclone. 
  1. Givealittle donation page with specific people and stories that need assistance.
  1. Red Cross New Zealand’s flood response accepting donations of money and clothes.

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