During the cyclone, emergency shelters provided a dry and safe place for people to weather the storms.
A shelter was established at the Riverside Community Centre to provide refuge and assistance to the residents of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki who required it. Despite the devastation, anxiety and frustration, the feeling inside the shelter was welcoming and safe. And even though they had to leave their own homes and volunteer their own time, Auckland Council staff, elected members and community volunteers worked long hours and maintained an upbeat environment for those in need.
At the Riverside Community Centre shelter, council staff worked up to 11 hours at a time to provide cups of tea, a chat, guidance for where to find information and assistance after the weather events. Staff were supported by Panamasians ō Tuia, a group of generous locals who also volunteered to assist.
“Working with families in the community shelter was a humbling experience that I will never forget. My thoughts are with those who have lost everything,” says Maria Meredith, Chairperson of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board.
“It was a place of sharing not only information to help with the aftermath of the cyclone, but a space where knowledge and history was shared too. Friendships were formed and hononga (connections) made,” says Donna Tawhara, Strategic Relationships and Participation Programme Specialist at Auckland Council.
“We’d like to give a big shout to local volunteers, Rose Ikimau, Tina Pihema, Violet Teuila, Maraea Robb, Moa Kingi and Māori Warden, Shona, for their kindness. And thank you to our security team, the council’s community facilities and health and safety teams for looking out for us.”
A range of families came into Riverside Community Centre seeking assistance. Volunteers also helped with distributing food parcels to the elderly who live in the area.
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