Media Release

New Zealand Red Cross announces major contribution to Wairoa recovery effort

27 March 2023

Over $1 million from the New Zealand Disaster Fund is being provided to people living in Wairoa to help them to recover from the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.  

The $1.1 million contribution to the Wairoa District Council led Liveable Homes Fund will help individuals and whanau living in yellow stickered homes to restore their homes to a safe and liveable standard.  

Sarah Stuart-Black, Secretary General, New Zealand Red Cross said “Across all the areas affected by recent severe weather and the cyclone, our approach is to focus on supporting solutions led by the local community so our help has the most impact. This devastating weather event will impact the people of Wairoa for years to come, we can help to ease that burden thanks to the generosity of all those who donated to the NZ Disaster Fund.” 

The contribution makes up around one-quarter of the Liveable Homes Fund and will support needs not met by insurance or other existing funds. It is dedicated to:

  • septic tank cleaning
  • reticulated plumbing
  • reinstatement of home heating
  • essential bathroom and electrical repairs.  

Distributing equipment in Wairoa after Cyclone GabrielleWairoa Mayor, Craig Little, said getting Wairoa whānau back into liveable homes as soon as possible is a priority. 

“Through the generosity of this funding and all the people who donated to this fund, we will be able to support local families to bring their homes up to a safe and liveable standard. We are tremendously appreciative that the Red Cross has recognised Wairoa’s needs and assisted us and that so many New Zealanders have contributed to this fund. Thank you everyone,” Little said. 

There is no requirement for individuals to apply to the Liveable Homes Fund, as funds will be allocated through the building inspection process led by the council. 

New Zealand Red Cross is also providing other support in the region including: 

  • providing nine free Psychosocial First Aid training courses to 182 people in Hastings, Napier and Wairoa who will be working in impacted communities  
  • providing household clean-up kits which include brooms, dust masks, cleaning products and overalls. Up to 1,000 kits will be available to city and district councils, community groups and Red Cross service centres for distribution to those who need them
  • providing 100 dehumidifiers to assist in drying out flood-damaged homes in Wairoa
  • 69 first aid kits have been requested and distributed to marae and other community hubs across the affected areas
  • 44 Wet and Dry Vacs and 71 water blasters have been requested to help clean up homes affected by flooding
  • 94 generators, 164 fuel cans and fuel have been sent across the country to help provide power to community hubs and isolated homes 

Wairoa is one of many affected communities New Zealand Red Cross is working with.  

“We are working with communities and organisations across affected areas to understand their needs. Around 1,800 of our own people live in these communities, so for us, there is a very real personal connection.  We know we can help and are committed to doing so. We also know that needs in each community are different. The way we offer support will reflect this, we are taking the time to understand what each community needs and to work with them on tailored support packages. Over coming weeks we will be allocating more funding to support affected communities,” Stuart-Black said.  

The contribution brings the total committed from the $18 million contributed to the New Zealand Red Cross New Zealand Disaster fund to $1.975 million. 

In addition to working directly with Councils and iwi leaders, New Zealand Red Cross is finalising criteria for an application process that will enable groups, and organisations to directly apply for funding to support their community. 

Notes for editors  

The New Zealand Disaster Fund helps New Zealand Red Cross support communities to respond to, recover from, and prepare for disasters and emergencies in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

There is not a set percentage of funds that will be allocated to any one activity or location.  

All funding from the New Zealand Disaster Fund is based on where the need is greatest, and where it will make the most difference. 

The fund will be used across three programmes of work, the response and recovery programme, the partnerships programme and the investment programme. 

The grant to the Wairoa Liveable Homes Fund is part of the partnerships programme. The partnerships programme enables communities to do the work they know their communities will most benefit from. 

Updates on the work of the New Zealand Red Cross are regularly published to our website

New Zealand Disaster Fund hub

Spend so far can be broken down as follows:



Approximate spend 


Travel and equipment for Disaster Welfare and Support Team members, to support local Civil Defence Emergency Group requirements. 



Includes generators, first aid kits and other items relating to emergency accommodation and other immediate community needs. 



Funds to partner organisations providing support and response on the ground. 






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