Unsung heroes of Puketāpapa

Publish Date : 27 Feb 2023
The ARK Collective
One of Puketāpapa's many community groups, The Acts of Roskill Kindness (ARK) Collective responds to Auckland's recent extreme weather events: (left to right) Peter Leilua, Lou Reddy, Tili Leilua, Fiona Lai and volunteers of The ARK Collective team.

During Auckland’s worst weather event in recent memory, one of many organisations to assist was The ARK (Act of Roskill Kindness) Collective - a not-for-profit group of generous locals who managed a huge effort in response to its community’s needs.

The ARK Collective stood up its own emergency hub, a wrap-around service, endorsed by Auckland Emergency Management to serve the people of Puketāpapa. Flood and cyclone victims came to ARK’s emergency hub to seek shelter, food, toiletries, bedding, mattresses and financial and emergency housing assistance.

The hub had support from a medical team from Whānau Ora Community Clinic, who provided professional health advice and prescriptions for those in need of urgent care. Many victims had lost their cars, couldn’t access public transport and could not get to essential services.

“Our community did us proud and I am so humbled to have seen this level of kindness and generosity  during this time of devastation,” says Ella Kumar, Chairperson of Puketāpapa Local Board. “This service and the efforts of many others have been incredibly valuable to those who have been affected.”

In response to the flood and cyclone, 220 members of the community banded together and volunteered around the clock, including security night shifts. More than 1000 people came through ARK’s emergency hub doors and were welcomed by community aroha and kindness. ARK’s efforts also included distributing a total of 3000 food parcels to families.

“It was heartening to see all the hard mahi volunteers put in to help others within the community,” says Fiona Lai, Co-Founder of The ARK Collective.
“We are also so grateful for all the support from community groups, businesses, organisations, Student Voluntary Army, the Red Cross, Auckland Emergency Management and Auckland Council.”

Immediately after the storms, volunteers assisted with the clean-up, cleared debris and filled 60 skip bins and large flexi bags in a one-day working bee event, with the support of the New Zealand Defence Force.

“A lot has been accomplished over the last month and this work would not have been possible without the help of everyone involved, including my fellow co-founders of The ARK Collective, Peter and Tili Leilua, Zena Wrigley and Lou Reddy,” says Ms Lai.

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