Marlborough Recovery Update #22, Friday 10 March 2023
A week in the life of a response team member by Dave Parsons
Last year, our Marlborough Response Team went through a vigorous assessment and audit process to be formally recognised as ‘New Zealand Response Team’ (NZ-RT20), joining the family of other response teams around New Zealand.
In February, we were asked to deploy a small team of responders to the Auckland region to help with the response effort following devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Information is everything, and the amount of information given dictates the degree of detail we end up having. Twenty four hours before deployment we only really knew we were heading to Auckland and would form a blended response team with one from the Waimakariri District. We were to be based at RNZAF Whenuapai which meant we could leave our tents, cookers, food and cooking equipment behind but needed to pack wet-weather gear, overalls, sleeping bag, life jacket and enough clothes and personal gear for seven days. This was on top of our standard tasking packs which contain items such as safety vest, helmet, torches, batteries, radios, radio harness, gloves, goggles, medical kit, masks, edge kits, lashing line, drink and snack food. This was a light deploy as we were limited with check-in luggage.
We had made ourselves available to the Auckland Emergency Management team as a response resource. We are trained as first responders to emergency events and for some this was their first deployment outside Marlborough. The west coast of Auckland was hit hard with high levels of rainfall and gale force winds and was the priority area for our deployment. The storm caused widespread damage to homes and businesses and to water, power and roading infrastructure and many communities were totally isolated or were experiencing major access challenges - a situation many Sounds residents are familiar with.
Our taskings were varied and included working with the Defence Force shifting damaged household items from homes to the street for pick up to helping with helicopter loadings of essential household stores and fuel which were desperately needed by isolated communities. The team was also involved in household welfare checks and reconnaissance trips to assess road access into the Karekare area south of Piha. Some were involved in gathering large amounts of animal feed for farms and transporting it to a helicopter landing site for airlifting into Karekare which was totally isolated by landslides.
The deployment was challenging but fulfilling and an opportunity to help others and work alongside another response team putting our skills to the practical test. We had long days and clocked up many hours on the Auckland motorway system! We felt fortunate to have Base Whenuapai as a place to eat and sleep and we will remain ever grateful for Google maps as a navigation tool!
Our NZ-RT20 team was again asked to deploy this week, this time to the Hawke’s Bay area. All our team members are volunteers. We wish to thank our families, work colleagues and employers for allowing us to go and give support to outside communities with the hope that support will be reciprocated when we face our own emergency event here in Marlborough.
Hato Hone St John’s mental health first aid courses
There was a good turnout at the three mental health first aid courses held in the Marlborough Sounds last month.
Facilitator Jo Hodgkinson ran a very relaxed, enjoyable and interesting workshop and commented on participants’ willingness to get involved. “Marlborough has the best people in the country – they are friendly, appreciative and show gratitude,” she said.
The Weaving Wellness workshop for school children, which ran at the same time as the first aid course, was very popular with requests for trainer Brittany Cooling to return “every day”. The course encouraged the children to think about what helps them when they are sad or anxious and taught them breathing techniques as a method to cope with such feelings.
“The children were provided with tools to talk to their teachers and friends at a deeper level and they were all willing to participate and take an interest in it,” said Brittany.
A big thank you to everyone involved in these days.
Insurance drop in day feedback
A good number of people – mostly with red or yellow stickered properties – attended the Insurance drop-in day at Havelock Hall.
Feedback was positive with people appreciating being able to talk face to face with insurance representatives, people from EQCover and Council’s building control group manager. Thanks to all those representatives from IAG, Vero, EQCover, NZCRS and Council’s building control team who attended.
The day ran smoothly and everyone had the opportunity to speak with representatives with the focus being on adjusting sessions to suit individual and group needs.
Anyone with an insurance query who couldn’t make it is urged to contact their case manager or, if you need support, reach out to recovery navigators Jessica and Charlotte – they can put you in touch with the right people. Text Charlotte on 027 213 0341 or Jessica on 027 459 0377.
Thanks to the Red Cross team for providing support and refreshments.
Waitaria Bay kids boat to Bohally
Three students from Waitaria Bay School are commuting to Bohally Technology Centre by boat and bus thanks to help from the Mayoral Relief Fund.
Teaching principal Tineke Giddy said it was a while since Waitaria Bay School students had attended technology classes at Bohally Intermediate.
“The three hour drive each way kept it out of reach as it meant a really early start and a very long day,” she said.” Compounding this is the current state of the road from Kenepuru through to Linkwater, following the Kaikoura earthquake and two big rain events.”
However, the three year seven and eight students are benefitting from the extensive facilities and teaching at Bohally thanks to the Mayoral Relief Fund.
“We are grateful to the Fund for supporting our efforts to gain access to this educational opportunity for our tamariki, by funding the water taxi option,” Tineke said. “It has made the Bohally Technology Centre a feasible option for Waitaria Bay School students.”
Students take the water taxi from Waitaria Bay to Havelock, which takes around 45 minutes and then meet the technology bus outside Havelock School which takes them to Bohally.
It’s still a long day, but much shorter than the alternative.
High level of feedback on Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study
The first phase of public consultation on the Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study has concluded. The study is investigating sustainable future access in and out of the Marlborough Sounds.
Mayor Nadine Taylor said she was pleased with the level of public engagement. “It was great to see so many people the take time to engage with us on this important study,” she said. “There were well over 500 people at the public workshops, which demonstrates the critical importance of access routes into the Sounds for the local community.
“We received 125 submissions on the study scope and 919 people completed the main survey during the consultation period, which ran from the end of January until Wednesday this week. There were also 55 written submissions received during the survey period.”
Mayor Taylor stressed the importance of public consultation in the development of infrastructure planning.
“We need to ensure that transport solutions are resilient for the long term. It was important that the community provided their feedback on this first phase of the study, and I thank everyone who was able to contribute.”
She said recent weather events in Marlborough as well as ex-cyclone Gabrielle’s impacts on the North Island had highlighted the importance of resilient transport routes.
“New Zealanders are acutely aware of how important a safe and resilient transport system is to their community as we all grapple with the impacts of climate change.”
“The significant storms that hit the top of the South Island in 2021 and 2022 created serious access challenges in the Sounds, the Awatere Valley, the Waihopai Valley and the Northbank. Resilient and safe transport access is a key part of supporting our communities into the future.”
The Sounds Future Access Study project team will now consider the public’s input and other key information and develop a business case with options, which the public will again be able to provide feedback on, probably in June this year.
Mayor Taylor said that following the second phase of public consultation the preferred option will be costed and submitted to Waka Kotahi and the Council for consideration.
Tuesday 14 March 8.00 am from Havelock Wharf. A field day at Manaroa Farm will look at challenges farmers faced following two devastating weather events. Organised by Beed + Lamb New Zealand tickets are $20 including transport. Registrations essential www.facebook.com/BLNZNSI
Friday 24 March 10.30 am to 3.00 pm ABC to wellbeing workshop at Endeavour Park Pavilion Picton. This free wellbeing clinic is for those who have experience loss, faced challenge or undergone change. Registrations are filling up fast so register now. Maximum is 20 people. Email Charlotte.Wood@marlborough.govt.nz or text 027 213 0341.
Crews are continuing to work at the limestone revetment site on Awatere Valley Road. This week they have been building the river run embankment.
The construction of Noel's Bridge continues on Northbank Road. Crews are working on attaching the walls to the abutment and the piles and the placing of rock armour will also start this week.
On Queen Charlotte Drive, works continued this week on a slope protection wall at Mahakipawa Hill, approximately 1.3km from Havelock. Works to replace a large retaining wall approximately 3.3km along Queen Charlotte Drive from Picton have also continued this week, crews are making excellent progress as they work on building up the layers of the wall.
Pavement improvement works will be undertaken next week around the Elie Bay, Crail Bay and Hopai Bay areas. This includes spreading and compacting gravel and clearing some water tables.
Improved access works were completed on Moetapu Bay Road this week.
Works have also been undertaken in the Port Underwood area, clearing water tables and removing minor slips.
Please follow all traffic management signage and be aware of alarge number of truck movementson roads throughout the recovery zones.
Kenepuru Road and its side roads, including Moetapu Bay Road, remain restricted to residents and emergency services only. They are not suitable for visitors.
To check the status of any local road in Marlborough visit Marlborough District Council’s CDEM Map and click on the road for more information.