Sending Love to Our People of Aotearoa

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16 February 2023

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It’s been a hard few weeks for Aotearoa and we’re still reeling from the biggest natural disaster to hit our shores this century.

As most of us sit in the comfort of our homes, it is with mixed emotions that we watch tragic news scenes. We’re thankful we’re safe, we have power, and our possessions were untouched by Cyclone Gabrielle. Yet thousands of New Zealanders were not so blessed.

Less than a month ago, parts of Auckland experienced a flash flood, and we saw first-hand the damage that water can cause. But this cyclone took it to a whole new level. The images of communities affected, and lives turned upside down, are devastating.

Muriwai homes destroyed in Cyclone Gabrielle.
Flooding caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in Awatoto, near the city of Napier.

As millions of us watch the aftermath of the cyclone unfold, the damage this natural disaster has caused is heart-wrenching.  We are filled with a sense of helplessness, knowing there is little we can do to take away the pain and suffering of those who have lost loved ones, homes, and possessions.

It is with a heavy heart that we realise, we don’t have the full story yet, the true extent of the loss is not yet known. Some parts of the country are still completely cut off, without power, communication or access to emergency services. 

But as someone who has called New Zealand home for over 13 years, one thing I know is that New Zealanders are resilient. It has been beautiful to see the stories of people helping each other in any way they can. Whether it’s through volunteering, donating, or simply offering a shoulder to cry on, it’s inspiring to see how our communities are coming together in this time of need.

As we collectively mourn the loss that affected families are going through, it is a reminder of just how powerful and unpredictable nature can be and how important it is for us to support each other through times of crisis.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by the recent floods or Cyclone Gabrielle and is in need of support, here are some of the key helplines to call.

Mental Health National helplines

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP).

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email [email protected] or online chat.

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Red Cross are with emergency management services sending their trained Disaster Welfare and Support Teams

Rapid Relief Team NZ volunteers helping make deliveries to to Wairoa. 
(Source: New Zealand Defence Force)

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