The New Zealand Disaster Fund has helped thousands of people and communities affected by the devastating weather events of January and February 2023.

On 27 January 2023, unprecedented flooding swept through our largest city of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and barely two weeks later, Cyclone Gabrielle cut an even more destructive path across much of the North Island. These events led to tragic loss of life and widespread damage to homes and livelihoods.

We were there from the beginning — providing shelter, support and supplies, but knew more was needed.

The New Zealand Disaster Fund appeal was launched within days of the cyclone making landfall. When the Fund closed almost six months later, donors had given $27 million to help us support affected people.

Six months on

By August 2023, the majority of the Fund had been spent or committed to a wide range of activities. From providing emergency support and equipment immediately following the disaster, to allocating millions in grants to community organisations providing services to affected people, to supporting vulnerable households with new furniture, the donations have made a difference.

Since the cyclone, Red Cross people have spent thousands of hours supporting communities and emergency services.

We’re absorbing the running costs of the Fund so 100 percent of donations, including the interest earned, can be spent on providing support to people who need it.

View the New Zealand Disaster Fund Six-Month Report - Feb to Aug 2023 (PDF, 5MB)

How the Fund is being spent 

The Fund is providing ongoing support to communities through our three programmes — Partnerships Grants, Response and Recovery, and Resilience Investment.   

For a full breakdown of the Fund distribution, see our page on how the Fund is being spent.


1. Partnership Grants Programme 

By August, this programme had distributed $14 million in much-needed funding to community organisations working to support people affected by the cyclone and floods.

It has included funding for:  

  • providing food and temporary accommodation  
  • replacing clothing, bedding, and other essentials 
  • providing financial support to individuals and whānau, including through existing schemes such as Mayoral Disaster Funds
  • supporting volunteer clean-up and repair efforts with equipment, food, transportation, and coordination  
  • restoring access to things like water supply, power, septic tanks, and communications  
  • providing mental health services and community connectedness activities
  • repairing and restoring community hubs, marae, and other common facilities. 

Read the full list of activities funded by the New Zealand Disaster Fund.

2. Response and Recovery Programme  

This programme supported our immediate emergency response following the disasters and is helping communities with ongoing recovery by providing goods, services, and people. It includes the Red Cross Home Bundles programme.

Red Cross Home Bundles

Many people are returning to homes that were damaged in the severe weather events with limited means to replace ruined furniture and other household items. We’re working with partners in affected regions to support these households through our Home Bundles programme.

The Bundles contain new basic household goods such as whiteware, beds and bedding, living room furniture, heaters and essential kitchenware. They are being offered to vulnerable households identified by our delivery partners who know their communities best. Households must meet a set criteria to be eligible.

The Bundles programme is underway in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Te Karaka, Tologa Bay and Wairoa and is being rolled out into other affected areas. It will take months to complete as people wait to return to their homes.

Recovery activities

  • Training 671 people over 49 courses in 6 months in how to give Psychological First Aid.

  • Supporting clean-up by providing things like water blasters, shovels, brooms, protective gear and first aid kits.

  • Providing other essential items such as gas cookers, generators and dehumidifiers.

Early response activities

  • Deploying our specialist Red Cross people to provide psychological support and practical help to 1,500 people displaced from their homes.    
  • Helping run Civil Defence evacuation centres and community hubs.  
  • Purchasing and distributing emergency supplies like satellite phones and fuel-powered generators, or restocking resources like bedding and stretchers.  
  • Door-to-door needs assessments alongside agencies including Civil Defence Emergency Management, local government, and welfare organisations.  
  • Deploying our Emergency Response Unit (ERU) unit to establish a temporary communications link for the Rissington farming community near Napier. 
    Read more about Reconnecting Rissington.
  • Our Disaster Welfare and Support Teams and other volunteers provided over 8,000 hours of response support work.

3. Resilience Investment Programme

This programme will help make sure communities are better supported and prepared for another disaster. With climate change leading to more frequent and more extreme weather events, it’s important the New Zealand Disaster Fund helps make sure we are ready to help communities through the next emergency. 

The funding may be used to:

  • Purchase equipment and resources that can support communities in an emergency
  • Provide training to build readiness and resilience within communities
  • Support community resilience programmes

We’ll be there to help affected communities plan for the future as they move out of the response and early recovery phase. 

Our commitment to you 

New Zealanders have opened their hearts to support the New Zealand Disaster Fund. We have worked to: 

  • Distribute funds quickly, fairly, and in ways that most help impacted communities
  • Allocate funds based on where the needs are greatest
  • Partner with local and central government, iwi, community, businesses, and others to build capability
  • Provide resources and prepare communities for future emergencies
  • Help people take care of immediate needs while planning for investments that will make a difference in communities facing emergencies in future
  • Keep you informed about how the Fund is being used
  • Be transparent about how we distribute money

Our promise to supporters 

Learn more 

We’ll continue to share stories about how and where the money is being used to support response, recovery, and preparedness.  

Register for email updates to stay up to date on how the Fund is making a difference.  

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

Climate change impacts 

Climate change means extreme weather events will become more frequent. An event like Cyclone Gabrielle will happen again, it’s just a question of when. This means communities need to be prepared to respond and recover the New Zealand Disaster Fund will help them to do this.  

Our position on climate change

Volunteer with us 

We're always looking for new volunteers to join our Disaster Welfare and Support Teams, so you can support us the next time we are needed. 

Disaster welfare and support volunteer 

Support our work 

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

We have closed the New Zealand Disaster Fund, but if you would like to support our ongoing emergency management work in Aotearoa, including in regions affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, you can donate to our Where the Need is Greatest fund.  

Donate to Where the need is greatest