Helping communities now and in the future

18 May 2023

Fortnightly update 6: New Zealand Disaster Fund

Supporting Te Houhanga Marae  

After Cyclone Gabrielle, every building of the Te Houhanga Marae was damaged by contaminated floodwaters, something that had never happened before. This included their 109-year-old Whare Tūpuna - Rahiri, which is one of the first carved meeting houses in Aotearoa New Zealand.

At its highest, the water was close to the top of fence posts. It took a long time to subside. It became crucial that clean-up began quickly to ensure there was as little long-lasting damage as possible.

“We were fortunate to get a lot of support from whānau, hapu and iwi volunteers to help with the initial clean-up. But to protect our buildings from bacteria and mould, we need to purchase commercial-grade cleaning products to dry everything as quickly as possible,” Viv Beazley of Te Houhanga Marae says.

Te Houhanga Marae received a $20,968 grant to help purchase these products and replace resilience resources such as waterproof mattresses, kai koha for distribution and manaaki kits. “Our aim was always to get back to being able to manaaki our whānau as soon as possible and we are grateful for the funding support,” Viv says.

Providing kai in an emergency

South Kaipara Good Food

South Kaipara Good Food

Over the six weeks following January's severe weather and then Cyclone Gabrielle, Kai Assist stepped in to help their community, providing $37,000 worth of products.

Last week, this food bank programme run by  South Kaipara Good Food received a $50,000 grant.

“Kai Assist provides food for people experiencing hardship and food insecurity every day. Had it not been for the Red Cross funding we would have had to limit our day-to-day Kai Assist operations and focus all our resources on the crisis response.  That’s why this funding is so instrumental, because it means we can continue to help those in need on a daily basis, as well as having secure funding to handle an emergency situation,” Gemma Donaldson, Chief Executive of South Kaipara Good Food says.

South Kaipara is a region that often gets cut off when flooding occurs, and this grant has already proven to be crucial for the region, which was once again isolated after severe rain on Tuesday last week.

“We were able to quickly get supplies to the emergency hubs in our community, so that when the weather hit there were items available to families. That is vital when people are isolated and in need. There were locals that couldn’t get home because it was flooded, so having food at those hubs was crucial,” Gemma says.

Tools for community recovery

Working with community representatives from Bay View, Whirinaki and Eskdale, the Bay View Community Charitable Trust have been given a $50,000 grant to support recovery, including by funding a Tool Library.

An idea generated through community meetings, the Tool Library will be located in a central location, likely in Bay View village, in a container purchased for the purpose. It will be staffed by volunteers with a process for signing items in and out. Approximately 5,000 people within the local area will be able to access the Tool Library, including those who need to repair and clean up homes that were damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle.   

Boosting the Farmy Army volunteer programme and rural events

A grant of $250,000 has been given to Federated Farmers, to help boost their Farmy Army volunteers providing vital assistance to East Coast and Northland farmers and growers affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“The lives and livelihoods of many hundreds of rural families and businesses have been turned upside down by the storm and flooding,” says Julie Geange, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Manager. For many of them, restoring their properties will take months, even years.

Fencelines, access roads and infrastructure vital to our food and fibre producers in Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti, Northland and other regions have been damaged or destroyed. “The Farmy Army volunteers are people familiar with repairing fences, using chainsaws, driving bulldozers and tractors, etc., and more than 600 of them have registered to spend a day or two – sometimes weeks – helping cyclone-hit families and producers get back on their feet,” Julie says.

Well over 1,200 volunteer hours on dozens of farms have been put in so far. The grant will help with logistics and other expenses and enable off-farm events. These events help exhausted and stressed farmers, workers and family members escape the clean-up work for a few hours to socialise, re-charge and swap advice on what’s worked best for them.

By the numbers  

  • Total committed funds: $5.3m
  • Total donations: $25m
Partnership Grants Programme  

Using Support and Enable Grants to fund organisations who can make an impact supporting affected communities.

Entities supported this fortnight:

  • Breckenridge Water Company – repair of water pumps for 22 houses – $50,000.
  • Te Kawau Community Water Supply Association – generator for emergency water supply – $40,000.
  • HB Clean Up Crew – funding for new tools and equipment, fuel, diggers and truck hire – $36,603.
  • Piha Memorial RSA – purchase and install of a new generator – $10,000.
  • Elite Finishes Contracting – cleanup and removal of silt for 200 families – $50,000.
  • Engage Community Trust – funding towards counselling, volunteer expenses and equipment purchases for cleanup – $32,500.
  • Give a Kid a Blanket – bedding, warm clothing, food and toiletries for affected families – $30,000.
  • Life Education Trust Gisborne, East Coast and Wairoa – providing life education programmes to primary, intermediate, kura and some secondary schools in Tairāwhiti –$16,000.
  • Love Soup Charitable Trust – food and supplies for those affected and those helping with the cleanup –$28,987.
  • Piha Ratepayers & Residents Association – financial support for red and yellow stickered households – $50,000.
  • Muriwai Community Recovery Charitable Trust – funding to purchase food and petrol vouchers for those affected – $50,000.
  • Sri Lankan Society of New Zealand – funding for accommodation, food and clothing needs – $15,000.
  • Acrnr limited – funding for clearing flood debris and making properties safe and secure – $25,000.
  • Coromandel Independent Living Trust – temporary accommodation–$70,000. 
    Bayview community charitable trust – funding for community cleanup tools – 50,000.
  • Federated Farmers – supporting Farmy Army volunteering, for the wellbeing and recovery of rural communities – $250,000.
  • Nevertheless – funding to deliver psychosocial support for Hawkes Bay through a Maori and Pasifika lens – $42,000.
  • Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated – to support the community event for community resilience – $25,000.
  • South Kaipara Good Food – provide emergency food and supplies to the Kaipara community – $50,000.
  • Te Houhanga Marae – support the purchase of bedding, clean-up supplies and food – $20,968.
  • Whanau Focus Centre (Kaipara Abuse Prevention Inc) – to support the mental health and wellbeing of 30 families –$29,948.75.
  • Babystart Charitable Trust – infant and maternal care packages for affected families – $16,000.
  • Manawa Ora Hawkes Bay Trust – temporary accommodation – $50,000.
  • Ngā Toi Hawke's Bay – cleanup tools and supplies and wellbeing support – $32,000.

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

Total approximate spend $4.15m  
Community Support Grants approved: 28

Community Enable Grants approved:  13

Total grant applications received: 181

Response and Recovery Programme 

People trained in Psychological First Aid: 378 people in 27 courses.
Deployment: Travel and equipment for Disaster Welfare and Support Team members, to support local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group requirements. 
Equipment: Includes generators, first aid kits and other items relating to emergency accommodation and other immediate community needs.

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

Total approximate spend $1.2m
Investment Programme   Preparing communities for future disasters and emergencies. This includes activities like community resilience workshops   Total spend $ -  

Note: Figures provided are as accurate as possible as at 18 May given the rapid nature of grant allocation. Figures may change slightly in our annual reporting as we complete our audit process.

New grant applications to be paused

Thank you to all the community groups and other organisations that have engaged with us so far to help support affected communities.

Grants are just one way the New Zealand Disaster Fund is being used to support affected communities.  Some funding is being allocated to other initiatives, such as the extension of the Te Karaka household bundles pilot to other affected areas.

The grants programme has attracted a very large number of applications, especially in the last few weeks. Currently, $10 million has been allocated to grants funding, of which approximately $4.1 million has already been committed. We expect applications to exceed allocated funding.

Community Enable Grants – more than $50,000
Round 2 of the Enable Grants was due to close on 17 May. To allow organisations who had intended to apply as part of Round 3, we have extended this closing date to 5pm 25 May. 

Community Support Grants – $5,000 to $50,000
Will be accepted up to 5pm 25 May.

Grant applications already received by us will continue to be processed as normal.

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. 

New Zealand Disaster Fund hub

If you want to stay up-to-date on how the New Zealand Disaster Fund is making a difference you can register for email updates. 

Sign up for regular updates about the New Zealand Disaster Fund (

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

Caring for yourself and others after an emergency or disaster

Volunteer with us 

We can’t do our work without the thousands of Kiwis from all corners of Aotearoa New Zealand who give their time and energy to volunteer.   

  • We’re always on the lookout for dedicated people to join us in our humanitarian work. Join over 8,000 other humanitarians in New Zealand and volunteer today

Find a volunteer role near you

Red Cross in your community 

New Zealand Red Cross is part of your community. We have 16 offices around New Zealand including our head office in Wellington. You can join your local branch, group in over 40 cities and towns around New Zealand, or shop at one of our 50 retail stores. 

Map of Red Cross locations 

New Zealand Red Cross has 15 ‘areas’ across the country. Each area has its own area council, which is elected by the local Red Cross members. 

About our area councils  

There are nearly 50 branches of New Zealand Red Cross around the country. Branches have a hands-on local-community focus, and are run by volunteers. 

About our branches 

Find out more about what we do in New Zealand  

What we do in New Zealand 

Support our work 

Our emergency management work is funded through the generosity of donors. 

Donate to New Zealand Disaster Fund 

Related stories