Marlborough Recovery Update #23, Friday 24 March 2023
Manaroa Beef and Lamb field day feedback
It was standing room only in the woolshed at picturesque Manaroa Farm for the B+LNZ Farming for Profit Programme Field Day.
More than 110 people attended from as far away as Murchison, Wakefield and Kaikoura, which was a record-breaking day for the Farming for Profit Programme.
Participants listened to a range of expert speakers including Ginny Dodunski talking about parasites and animal health issues, Dr Ants Roberts on soil science and fertiliser and Murray Behrent from the Alliance Group with a market update and potential opportunities.
Councillor Barbara Faulls also provided an update on the Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study.
Manaroa farm owner Josh Jamieson gave a brief history of Manaroa and spoke about current management systems and the challenges of farming in the Kenepuru and Pelorus Sound. After the devastating 2021/2022 winter rainfall with consequent damage to the main Kenepuru Road, logistical challenges had been enormous he said.
Ellie Cranswick from the Farming for Profit Programme, said there was very positive feedback from farmers, who enjoyed learning about the challenges of farming in the Sounds, particularly those visiting from outside of the area.
“They have taken inspiration from the locals’ passion to continue on through the adversity they are facing,” she said. “In turn, Sounds farmers appreciated that other farmers wanted to visit and show support which will hopefully strengthen the community networks further.”
Recovery Navigator Charlotte Wood attended and caught up with locals to see how they’re doing.
“Thank you to everyone who came along, supporting the day and the local community and a big thank you to the hosts for the day, Josh Jamieson and his family,” she said.
Marlborough volunteers help with North Island relief effort
A number of Marlborough emergency responders were seconded to the North Island in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle including several Marlborough District Council staff.
Council’s data analyst Rachel Baggs spent two weeks based in Hastings helping with the relief effort - her role is in intelligence, and she worked 12 hour days helping with the flow of information, verifying it and passing it on to the wider effort.
“Obviously there was a lot going on and we were dealing with the impact of what had happened plus the heightened anxiety from people when it started raining again – there was a lot of intel coming in,” she said. “The effort was turning to how can we support people and prepare for the recovery.”
Rachel was surprised at the number of people involved in the response and recovery efforts. “It was a very supportive and well organised group – lots of local people as well as people from outside the region,” she said.
Rachel said she learned a huge amount – not only during her official worktime but during down time as all the volunteers stayed together. “It never stopped really as you were mixing with other volunteers and swapping information informally,” she said. “It was a hugely valuable experience and strengthened the relationship between councils as well as group partnerships – for example with the defence force. I feel it will improve our own preparedness for such an event.”
Public information critical for affected homeowners in Auckland
Council’s communications manager Glyn Walters spent last week in Auckland where his efforts were directed to the recovery operation in Muriwai, Piha and Karekare.
“The cyclone arrived on 14 February, two weeks after an earlier storm on the Friday of Auckland anniversary weekend,” Glyn said. “Damage happened across the city - about 5,000 properties were damaged either by flooding or landslides. The rainfall for February was four times the normal level! “
“The two worst affected areas were Muriwai and Piha, which experienced multiple large landslides The people there are just coming out of the response phase and beginning the recovery process.”
Glyn was impressed with the coordination and focus of the people involved in the response.
However, he said the public information team, while very well run, was modest in size.
“Even Auckland has struggled to get the specialist resources they need – quite a number of people from around the country have been helping out,” he said.
”Our challenge was managing re-entry into the Muriwai exclusion zone for homeowners whose properties had been declared safe to re-enter after new assessments by the building inspections team.”
A huge communications effort went into contacting each homeowner by email and phone to ensure they were aware of the placarding status change with five different types of written advice produced, depending on the property’s circumstances.
Dave Parsons heads north again
Senior advisor community resilience Dave Parsons followed up his time in Auckland in February with a stint in Hawke’s Bay earlier this month.
He was deputy team leader joining fellow response team volunteers from Wellington and Christchurch.
They slept in makeshift dormitory accommodation at the Hawke’s Bay Mitre 10 Sports Centre in Hastings and the team’s taskings were to support remote and isolated communities in northern Hawke’s Bay.
“With SH2 between Napier and Wairoa closed due to severe damage we were flown into the communities by helicopter,” he said. “Our main roles, while in the townships of Tutira, Putorino and Waikoua, were to help with the running of the three community food and fuel hubs, complete welfare checks on individual households, undertake road reconnaissance, support helicopter supply drops and manage general welfare care and support to local residents and farmers who were doing it particularly hard.”
The deployment provided many valuable learning experiences as emergency responders, Dave said. “There were times when it was simply ‘hurry up and wait’, and there were times when we were challenged emotionally when talking to people who had sad and disturbing stories to share.”
Dave said the uncertainty over isolation and what the future held proved a real concern to many.
“Our team got to meet some real community heroes - they were tireless and genuinely dedicated to helping their community overcome the emotional and economic damage caused by the cyclones wind and rain.”
As always, the response team members are very grateful to families, colleagues, workmates and employers for allowing them to respond as volunteers and give the requested support to some very hard-hit communities.
A catastrophic event, such as last year’s August floods, takes some time to recover from. If you are feeling stressed or worried make sure to check your wellbeing and mental health. The following link from Te Whata Ora has some great information. https://www.wellbeingsupport.health.nz
"Access & Choice" by Te Whatu Ora licensed under CC BY 3.0 NZ, accessed from https://www.wellbeingsupport.health.nz/."
Holiday weekends coming up
Don’t for get about the two holiday weekends coming up – the Easter break starting with Good Friday on April 7 and then Anzac Weekend – Anzac Day falls on a Tuesday, April 25.
Get in early and book your water taxi transport.
April 7 - Good Friday – start of holiday weekend – get in early to book water taxis.
April 10 - Easter Monday
April 25 - Anzac Day (Tuesday)
Thursday 11 May 11.00 am Millers Rest Rai Valley. A community event with former police crisis negotiator and motivator Lance Burdett. Further details to come.
Entry is $10 which includes lunch, tea and coffee. For registrations go to https://events.humanitix.com/lance-burdett-community-event
Crews are continuing to work at the Limestone revetment site on Awatere Valley Road. In the last fortnight, carting of rock to the site has continued as the river and road embankments are built up to provide protection to the new road.
Maintenance work continues this week in the Elie Bay, Crail Bay and Hopai Bay areas. These works have included trimming and compacting rough areas of the road that were damaged during the storm events, along with spreading and compacting gravel and clearing water tables.
Improved access works have now been completed on Moetapu Bay Road as well as vegetation clearance work in this area.
In the weeks following Easter, culvert works will be undertaken on Kenepuru Road, which may require day time road closures.More information will be advised.
The construction of Noel’s Bridge has progressed well on Northbank Road. Last week concrete stitches were placed between wing walls and abutment walls. The precast beams for the new bridge deck were laid this week, an exciting step forward as we move closer to the bridge's completion.
Clearing of water tables and the removal of minor slips have been completed along Port Underwood Road.
Anchors have been installed this week on a new slope protection wall at Mahakipawa Hill, approximately 1.3km from Havelock.
Works to replace a retaining wall approximately 3.3km along Queen Charlotte Drive from Picton are nearing completion as the upper layers of the wall have been laid, and the upstream culvert and inlet works are also completed. This week the road is being prepared for sealing and minor finishing works are also being carried out. Vegetation clearance around the Cullens Point area has also taken place.
Forestry Trucks on Queen Charlotte Drive
Some forestry companies have been struggling to keep their logging teams working and meet their supply obligations due to not having road access to their forests on Queen Charlotte Drive.
In an effort to help this important part of the local economy, approval has been given for up to seven piloted logging trucks a day to access forests at Linkwater, and use Queen Charlotte Drive through to Havelock. Please be aware of increased logging truck movements along Queen Charlotte Drive.
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.