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.

The New Zealand Disaster Fund appeal was launched within days of the cyclone making landfall. By February 2024, the entire $28.5 million of the New Zealand Disaster Fund, and all interest earned, has been committed to programmes supporting whānau, families and communities to recover, and to prepare for the next emergency. 

Our activities

The Fund has been fully committed to a wide range of activities. We’ve helped people who needed places to sleep, sh or clothing, supported projects to repair and dry out homes, repairs to septic tanks and water supply, funded mental health programmes and wellbeing projects, helped the most impacted replace household goods and we’re continuing to help communities prepare for the next emergency.

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 

This programme distributed $15 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

Our Red Cross Home Bundles programme is helping more than 2,000 people most in need to replace furniture and other basic household items damaged in the floods and cyclone.  

About 263 Bundles have been delivered in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland, Tairāwhiti and Hawkes Bay so far, with around 95 awaiting delivery. We have capacity to deliver 500+ bundles in total.

Hend's home bundles story

A year on: Full $28.5 million committed to community disaster relief

Recovery activities

  • Training 1,001 people over 81 courses 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 10,000 hours of response support work.

3. Resilience Investment Programme

Our Resilience Investment Programme is helping make sure communities will be better supported and prepared for future emergencies as the impacts of climate change grow. We are funding community resilience in four areas – shelter, power, communications and welfare support.   

A total of $6.5 million has now been committed in grants for disaster preparedness in affected communities. Shelter includes things like stretchers and bedding; power includes generators, battery banks and solar panels; communications includes satellite connections and emergency radios while welfare support includes first aid training and equipment and psychological first aid.

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

A year on: Full $28.5 million committed to community disaster relief

Our commitment to you 

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

  • Identify lessons from the last year and how they should shape our responses to future events 
  • 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

Read the Six month report [PDF, 5MB]

Our promise to supporters 

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