New Zealand Disaster Fund reaches $15 million

10 March 2023

Fortnightly update 1: New Zealand Disaster Fund

This week, New Zealand Red Cross has seen the outpouring of generosity from across the country continue. Thanks to the collective efforts of individuals, communities and event organisers, as at 10 March 2023, the New Zealand Disaster Fund stands at $15 million.

General Manager Engagement and Enterprise, New Zealand Red Cross, Shane Chisholm, says we remain deeply grateful to all those fundraising – for their efforts, their generosity and their trust.

"We will ensure that money donated to the New Zealand Disaster Fund supports those affected by recent events and helps build future preparedness based on where the need is greatest and where we can work with communities to have the most impact.

General Manager Engagement and Enterprise, New Zealand Red Cross, Shane Chisholm

Shane Chisholm
General Manager Engagement and Enterprise

"By splitting the fund into three programmes of work – firstly response and recovery, secondly partnerships programme and finally investment – we'll get the right balance of being where we’re needed, when we're needed and enabling communities to do the mahi they know their communities will most benefit from," Chisholm said.

There is not a set percentage of funds that will be allocated to any one activity or location. Instead, all funding will be allocated based on where the need is greatest and where it will make the most difference. We’ll keep working with communities and organisations to understand their needs and doing everything we can to make sure all funds are used as quickly and fairly as possible.

"Through the Fund, we'll continue to be there to support communities over the coming months. We will help people do what needs to be done today, and put in place things that will make a difference when they face future disasters and emergencies," he said.

Programmes of work underway

The response and recovery programme is already underway and includes our disaster welfare and support teams.

The partnerships programme focuses on New Zealand Red Cross working with organisations and community groups who can make an impact supporting affected communities and/or continuing or ramping up existing initiatives. It will minimise duplication and overlap and instead help build/bolster existing knowledge, expertise and programmes that are already up and running. It may include funding for operational specialists to support community organisations, sourcing resources and supplies, or providing funding to existing mechanisms like Mayoral Disaster Funds that are supporting individuals, whānau, families and households.

Recent activities include:

  • Deploying our specialist Red Cross people to provide psychological support and practical help to those who have been evacuated from their homes. Our Disaster Welfare and Support Team have logged more than 5,000 hours since the first flooding event in Auckland and Northland at the end of January.
  • Running Psychological First Aid (PFA) training in Hastings for 84 people from Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora, other health and social service agencies in Hawke's Bay such as Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and community champions. We are working with local organisations to also offer this training in Tairawhiti and Wairoa.
  • Working alongside lead agencies in Civil Defence Centres and community hubs. We have helped 1,500 people have a safe place to sleep during these weather events.
  • Purchasing and distributing emergency supplies like satellite phones and fuel-powered generators across isolated areas. Restocking equipment like bedding and stretchers.
  • Supporting clean-up by providing things like first aid kits, waterblasters, dehumidifiers and hygiene products.
  • Deployed our Emergency Response Unit (ERU) unit to establish a temporary communications link for the Rissington community.
  • After Napier Civil Defence was overwhelmed by donations, our Napier Branch helped box and sort through clothing and other donated goods.
Emergency response Distributing supplies Psychosocial support Delivering generators in the Far North

Fund spend

We are working hard to balance speed with making sure the Fund is being used in the most effective way possible. We are working with organisations and communities across the North Island to make this happen.

To make sure that the New Zealand Disaster Fund has the most impact, we are working directly with those responsible for community response and recovery. This includes:

  • Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups (in affected areas)
  • District Councils
  • Regional Councils
  • Te Puni Kōkiri | Ministry of Māori Development

Current spend

Spend so far can be broken down as follows:



Approximate spend
Deployment Travel and equipment for Disaster Welfare and Support Team members, to support local Civil Defence Emergency Group requirements. $50,000
Equipment Includes generators, first aid kits and other items relating to emergency accommodation and other immediate community needs. $450,000
Partnerships Funds to partner organisations providing support and response on the ground. $100,000
TOTAL   $600,000

Over the coming weeks and months, as we distribute the New Zealand Disaster Fund, we will continue to provide regular updates.

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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Fortnightly updates

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