$10 million in grants made from the New Zealand Disaster Fund

15 June 2023

Fortnightly update 8: New Zealand Disaster Fund

This week we reached the $10 million mark for grants given to help communities affected by the floods and cyclone. Recent grants include ones to reduce hardship, run counselling services, provide baby supplies and support clean-up.   

An additional $1.3 million has helped our immediate emergency response and early recovery programme, bringing the total committed across all programmes to $11.3 million.  

Additional help for individuals in Hawke’s Bay  

Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust is receiving an additional $1 million grant from the New Zealand Disaster Fund to continue supporting their work reaching individuals, community groups and marae affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.   

In total, the Fund has now contributed $2 million to support the Trust’s work. A previous grant of $1 million contributed to Phase 1, which included payments for replacing home contents and belongings, and payments for emergency accommodation costs for families displaced from stickered properties.   

The latest grant will support Phase 2 of the Trust’s work, which provides grants to people of up to $10,000 for larger expenses such as removing silt and debris from properties not covered by insurance or government silt clean-up programmes.  

The importance of counselling and trauma services for community recovery  

Visionwest played an essential role in Civil Defence Centres and community hubs during the immediate response to both the severe weather events and Cyclone Gabrielle. Now, they’ve been able to turn their attention to the medium and long-term community needs in West Auckland, by providing counselling and trauma services for adults and children affected by the floods.   

Visionwest has received a $49,500 grant from the New Zealand Disaster Fund to support this important work.  

“The effect of the floods on children has been significant,” said Anthea, Visionwest Wellbeing Centre Counselling Manager. “We’ve been seeing children as young as five years old. And when I visit schools, teachers tell me about the fear in children’s eyes when the sky gets a bit dull and clouds roll in.”   

Both counselling and trauma support services are essential for community recovery.

Anthea said the need for trauma counselling will continue for some time. “Trauma is a little like a concussion. You can be hit in the head a few times and think you are coping and that it’s had little effect on you. But those knocks all add up. It’s the same with trauma. We can all experience a traumatic situation and, after a little time, think we’re all over it. But when another traumatic event occurs, and then another and another, eventually we can cope no more.”  

Faye Pouesi, Mātanga Oranga Kaiārahi Lead Therapist agrees. “That’s why we need to be prepared for cases in the future that relate back to the flooding. Some people will be able to push down the impact of the floods, but it will eventually resurface.”   

Scaling up the clean-up of homes in Wairoa  

A $70,000 grant from the New Zealand Disaster Fund has been supporting clean-up crews as they go door-to-door in Wairoa to help clean up homes.   

The team from Hookmade Ltd sprang into action helping whānau who took refuge in local marae in the first days after Cyclone Gabrielle. They then began combining their extensive experience in project management with their strong connections and love for the Wairoa community to organise more recovery support. This included putting together work crews to help clear homes from flood debris.   

“The Red Cross grant allowed us to do more,” said Hookmade director Maria Cairns. The funds contributed as the group increased from one clean-up crew to two and added highly skilled crew supervisors. They were also able to cover the operational costs of clean up equipment which had been provided by the local Māori wardens.   

The Hookmade crews have helped clean up dozens of individual homes, and Maria said, “I see a lot of movement and things happening for whānau. They still need a lot of support and it’s a long process, but this is the start towards getting them back in their homes.”    

Nurturing families as they re-enter their homes  

Tayla Nasmith founded Nurturing Families when she was only 12 years old, after she became aware of children around her who didn’t have the essentials they needed to thrive. Now, the charity helps families in crisis every day, providing essential items such as cots, prams and bassinets to families in need.   

After the severe weather events and cyclone early this year, the need for these essential items increased rapidly, especially in West Auckland where Nurturing Families new community hub is located.  

To help with their flood response, they received a $48,000 grant from the New Zealand Disaster Fund.  

“Usually we work with over 100 agencies that refer families to us. But after the cyclone and flood, we set up a direct line so people could get in touch with us quickly and we could provide them with essentials,” said Tayla.  

She said at the beginning of the emergency response there were a lot of donations from the community, but these have slowed as economic pressures are rising. However, many families whose belongings were lost or damaged in the floods, are now re-entering their homes and need to replace these essential items.   

“People aren’t donating as much as they were 12 months ago – so we don’t have as many cots, prams or bassinettes being donated. The funding from Red Cross has enabled us to buy these.  

“A grant like this is always amazing, but it is even more amazing when it comes as donations are lagging. It makes it even more impactful,” said Tayla. 

By the numbers   

The New Zealand Disaster Fund is being allocated across three programmes of work:  

  1. The Response and Recovery Programme supported our immediate emergency response on the ground and is now helping communities recover by providing goods, services, and people. At this stage, approximately $10 million has been budgeted for this programme.   
  2. The Partnership Grants Programme provides grants to community organisations supporting community response and recovery. At this stage, approximately $10 million has been budgeted for this programme.  
  3. The Investment programme is focused on helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from future emergencies and disasters.  At this stage, approximately $5 million has been budgeted for this programme.   

The amounts budgeted for each programme may go up or down as needs change.  

Total committed funds across all programmes: $11.3 million  

Total donations: $26 million  

Note: Figures provided are as accurate as possible as at 15 June given the rapid nature of grant allocation. Figures may change slightly in our annual reporting as we complete our audit process.  

Partnership Grants Programme  

This programme distributes grants to community organisations that are helping those affected. Supporting these organisations helps make sure response and recovery work is community-led and meets local needs.  

Total approximate spent or committed: $10 million   
Total Community Support Grants approved: 92 grants   
Total Community Enable Grants approved: 49 grants   
Total grant applications received: 271  
Approximate programme budget: $10 million  

We are continuing assessments of existing grant applications. Entities supported recently include:  

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawke’s Bay – mental health and wellbeing – $19,200  
  • Cyclone (VIV) Taskforce – petrol vouchers for volunteers – $4,000  
  • Gregory Earthmoving Ltd – clear access ways to farms and help repair water systems – $20,000  
  • Hawke’s Bay Children’s Holding Trust – psychosocial support expected to reach 500 whanau, food vouchers, and booklets for children – $7,000  
  • Hawke’s Bay Fruit Growers’ Association Charitable Trust – immediate needs such as shelter, food, water and warmth, mental health and wellbeing and bringing affected communities together – $100,000  
  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Council – funding to Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust – $1,000,000  
  • Hawkes Bay Cyclone Housing Help – assist with the clearing and cleaning up of properties – $32,000  
  • Hidden Figures – to support at least 200 whānau with food vouchers – $25,000  
  • Korokipo Neighbourhood Cyclone Support Group – restoration of community water supply and electricity – $15,000  
  • Ngāti Pāhauwera Incorporated Society – repair the weir and damaged water supply – $50,000  
  • Ngunguru Marae Trust – resources for marae that was used as an evacuation hub – $50,000  
  • Out House Loos – providing toilets for volunteers and clean-up crews – $4,000  
  • Pick Hawke’s Bay Incorporated – helping clean up in badly affected orchards – $20,000  
  • Pongaroa Early Years Preschool – financial support for preschool to help affected families – $10,000  
  • Quin Buildings – rural community clean up – $32,100  
  • The River of Silt Clean Up Crew – First Aid Kits – $713  
  • Sea’s Up – petrol vouchers and damaged generator for food service – $11,000  
  • Sir John Kirwan Foundation – mental wellbeing for young people – $164,250  
  • Taihoa Marae – building repairs – $100,000  
  • Takitimu Performing Arts School Trust – winter packs for affected whānau – $19,620  
  • Takiwatanga Sanctuary Trust – help animals displaced by the cyclone into foster homes – $8,000  
  • The Little Decant NZ – emergency accommodation for displaced whānau – $8,000  
  • The Nest Collective NZ Charitable Trust – baby essentials for cyclone-affected families – $35,000  
  • Tutira Early Childhood Centre – help rebuild damaged childhood centre – $20,000  
  • Whakapara Marae Trust – community response centre – $50,000  

Some grants approved in this fortnight do not appear in this list as the recipient has yet to be notified.   

See the full list of entities that we have supported so far  

Response and Recovery Programme 

This programme supported our immediate emergency response on the ground and is now helping communities recover by providing goods, services, and people.    
Total approximate spent or committed: $1.3 million  
Approximate programme budget: $10 million   
Red Cross response: Disaster Welfare and Support Team travel and equipment to support local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group requirements. Free Psychological First Aid training to 424 people in 33 courses.   
Equipment: Includes generators, dehumidifiers, clean up kits, first aid kits and other items relating to emergency accommodation and other community needs.   
Red Cross Home Bundles programme: Pilot programme in Te Karaka has supplied replacement furnishings and household items to 16 homes.  This programme will be expanded into other areas in the coming months.  

See a breakdown of our spending under the programme to date

Investment Programme 

Preparing communities for future disasters and emergencies.  

Total approximate spent or committed: $- 
Approximate programme budget: $5 million 


Learn more 

We’ve been around for nearly 100 years. As the impacts of climate change increase the frequency and severity of weather-related emergencies across the country, we’ll keep being here. 

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

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Practical support and information to help you care for yourself and others after the recent flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle. 

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Lead photo: Clean up crews working in Wairoa, photo courtesy of Hookmade Ltd.