The recovery from Auckland region flooding and the February 2023 Cyclone Gabrielle's destruction in the North Island, particularly Hawke's Bay and Gisborne regions, will be a long road. Our parishes in the affected regions are committed to supporting their communities through this hard time. We know that many Presbyterians want to help and your prayers and other support is welcome and appreciated.
Below are updates from the Moderator, some of the ways our parishes in the affected regions are assisting their local communities, some ways that you can help them in their mahi, and where you can make donations to organisations helping with the recovery.
We will update this page as we receive information from parishes and presbyteries.
- Moderator's pastoral messages
- How our affected churches are responding
- Make a donation
- Contact a church or presbytery
- Govt funding for churches assisting
- It's Ok to not be Ok
Read the Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway's pastoral message to the Church, below, encouraging and informing our Church as it responds to helping our communities recover from the floods and cyclone. If you miss any of the emailed Moderator's pastoral emails, contact Grace to update your contact details. The first pastoral email was sent 21 Feb 2023, download below. The Moderator will update you as he receives more information about the affected presbyteries and churches with news about their mahi.
“As a Church, our hearts and our prayers go out to those who have lost family and friends, homes, and livelihoods. We hold in our hearts the people, the churches, and the church leaders in the most impacted areas. We have sought to contact as many of those churches and leaders as we can. They tell us of a strong collective community response, with the churches often at the forefront of the caring…”
There are many organisations helping with flood and cyclone recovery. Relief efforts are underway for all areas affected by flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle. If you would like to donate, see some suggestions below.
One example of fundraising for the NZ Red Cross and St Andrews Church Hastings comes from Presbyterian school St Andrews College, Christchurch:
St Andrew’s College has fundraised for those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle raising $33,754. Their Rector commented to the school, “This generosity strongly represents our DPR value (developing positive relationships) of compassion. In a time where so many are experiencing devastation and suffering, we can feel helpless. Your collective donation will lift the spirits of many in difficult times. Our St Andrew’s College donation will be directed to the New Zealand Red Cross Disaster Fund”. Additionally, a $1,000 was given at their Middle School Chapel Service on Sunday and this is going to St Andrew’s Church in Hastings for the ‘on the ground work’ they are doing. [See more on the St Andrews Church GenLend initiative below].
Want to help with the clean up or volunteer a skill or service? See links to some local organisations below:
- Volunteering Hawke's Bay
- Volunteering Northland
- Volunteering Bay of Plenty
- Volunteering Auckland
- Volunteering Waikato
- Student Volunteer Army
The Government has established a $2 million Community Support Fund which is available to faith-based, religious and church groups supporting whānau and communities in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and other regions impacted by recent weather events, who are not contracted by a government agency. Funding is only available until 30 June 2023. Apply for up to $3,500. Must be used by 30 June 2023. See here what may be funded and how to apply.
Parishes in areas affected by flood and cyclone damage are on the ground responding as they are able, helping their communities. This includes practical help, and listening to what people want to share, offering comfort, providing reassurance and a place to be with others. This section will be updated as information is provided to our Moderator to share.
Wairoa Union Parish, Wairoa
- Wairoa Union Parish is located on the opposite side of the river where the greatest damage was inflicted.
- The church halls were opened for rest home residents for several days before they were evacuated to Hastings and Rotorua, and then the local play centre moved into the facility.
- The parish is supporting many in the community as they seek to rebuild. There are many people without insurance in this isolated community.
Mangapapa Union Church, Mangapapa
- Mangapapa Union Church continue to deal with flood waters locally and out to the Te Karaka area north of Gisborne.
- Their foodbank has been overwhelmed with requests for assistance and they have overcome numerous obstacles to make deliveries to isolated homes.
St John's Presbyterian Church, Hastings, Hawke's Bay
- Hospitality: The church is continuing to cook and provide frozen meals to those in the community who need them through their ComCare ministry. If you would like to donate to help them buy ingredients for the meals, see below.
- Donations: Are welcomed for groceries for the ComCare food ministry. The church's ministers recently retired, and they no longer have an intern, so please contact Debbie, St John's church administrator for more details of how best to contribute to ComCare.
St Andrews Church, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay
- Hospitality: Has provided a warm welcoming space with fresh scones baked by minister Rev Jill McDonald, a place to talk, charge devices, cook food and share a meal. Their hall was opened to those made homeless.
- GenLend: One huge initiative St Andrews Church set up is the service GenLend to bring equipment like generators, water pumps, water blasters and small diggers from around the country into Hawke’s Bay as part of the disaster response. They will arrange pick-up and delivery, and then return the gear back to owners. GenLend has quickly garnered support and partnerships with NZ Apples and Pears, Farmlands, Federated Farmers, Hawke’s Bay Rotary Clubs, and the Hastings District Council. See the GenLend website.
- Donate: You can make a donation to St Andrews to support their mahi (work), see the Moderator’s pastoral message for their bank details.
- As at 29 March 2023, the wider Church has given $200,000 to St Andrews for the GenLend initiative. St Andrews are working with other churches in the region on the most effective way to use donations.
- Updates: see their Facebook page for updates.
St Columba's Church, Havelock North, Hawke's Bay
- Hospitality: Has provided a warm welcoming space, a place to talk and talk with ministers and elders, and to charge devices. Minister Rev Wayne Toleafoa says they have gathered blankets , clothing and other necessities on behalf of Civil Defence who distributed the goods within the first few days of the cyclone. Many in their parish are supporting friends and others who have lost much to the cyclone.
- Donations: The response to the call for donations of goods was so overwhelming that they now have enough of these and are encouraging cash and time donations to the organisations on this list.
- The church has Retiring Offerings for the next few weeks, for those who want to donate through the church. They will donate to local organisations, such as the Hawkes Bay Cyclone Relief Fund.
- The church hosted a fundraising concert for Cyclone Relief on Thurs 16 March 12.30-1.20pm. Lindisfarne College performed, koha only with all proceeds to Cyclone Relief Fund.
- They offer a quiet and safe space to sit, rest and meditate, a listening ear from the minister and elder team "we will even come out to you, and if we can’t help you, we’ll help you find someone who can".
- Updates: see their church website and Facebook page.
St Columba's Presbyterian Church Taradale, Hawke's Bay
- Hospitality: Has provided a warm welcoming space, a place to talk, free cups of coffee and tea and offered locals without power to come cook their food on their BBQs. They also provided meat, a Japanese curry, and vegetarian options.
- Coordinating care: Minister Rev Brett Walker has met with several local ministers and pastors to coordinate caring efforts in their areas and distribute help to those in need.
- Visiting individuals affected by the cyclone.
- Some locals whose own buildings have been affected by flood damage (for example EIT international students) are using church buildings for meeting up and the church is providing hospitality.
- Updates: See their Facebook page for updates.
Going through a natural disaster is hugely challenging, it’s okay to not be okay. If you need support for mental health for yourself or for others: call your doctor, after-hours GP practice or Healthline on 0800 611 116. See the AllRight? website or free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor. You can text Youthline on 234, or call Lifeline on 0800 543354.
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