Invercargill City Council is joining councils from across Aotearoa to Adopt a Community to support communities up north impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Local Government New Zealand has come up with the Adopt a Community initiative, which matches a southern council with a council and community badly hit by the cyclone.
Mayor Nobby Clark said Invercargill had been matched with Gisborne District Council, where more than 170 damaged homes had been red or yellow-stickered in a city that was already suffering from a housing shortage.
“We’ve had requests from people out in the community asking how they can help and we know that what they need the most right now is financial support. This means we can encourage our people to give directly to the Gisborne Mayoral Relief Fund, so they know their money will go to the people who know where it’s needed the most.”
Mayor Clark said while everyone was facing economic uncertainty with the steadily rising cost of living, it was surprising how quickly little donations would add up.
“We’re not asking people to give too much, just to give what they can give. We’re all hurting this year but these people are hurting plus they’ve got no home to go to in many cases.”
It would be nice to be able to connect with a community directly so that Invercargill would be able to feel like they were making a difference, Mayor Clark said.
“The damage and destruction up north is unbelievable and it’s overwhelming. By looking at helping one place it feels a bit more achievable,” he said.
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the support was heartwarming.
“It helps to know that we have support for our community.
“It’s been a tough time in Tairāwhiti with repeated hits from severe weather events that have destroyed properties and livelihoods. It’s also taking a toll on our community’s wellbeing.
“So initiatives like Adopt a Community really help us to feel like we’re not alone in this. Thank you Invercargill City Council for having our back.
“We are blessed to live in a country that is tight-knit and supports other communities.
“Every cent donated to the Disaster Relief Trust in Tairāwhiti will go towards helping people in our community get on their feet again after the flooding during Cyclone Gabrielle.
“It’s heartwarming to know that even though we’re separated by distance, Invercargill is thinking of us.”
People interesting in making a donation for Gisborne can deposit money in the Gisborne Mayoral Relief Fund bank account:
03 – 0638 – 0502288 – 00
REFERENCE DISASTER RELIEF FUND