It takes a community to help a community.
Even with pre-warning, storms can arrive with a ferocity that takes us by surprise bringing winds and driving rain that can threaten the foundations of all we know. On Auckland Anniversary Weekend (27 January) and then on 12 February, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland faced such storms. First the Auckland Floods and then Cyclone Gabrielle hit with brutal and sustained force. The resulting devastation throughout West Auckland was immense and, for many, life-changing.
In response, Visionwest chose to do what we always do in times of crisis … we provided an anchor for our community believing that, as we remained strong, light would eventually break through the clouds and give even the most severely affected, the hope to carry on. It was a challenging time but, as our team responded to the aftermath of these events, we witnessed the courage of staff and client whānau and saw what hope can do in times of greatest challenge.
Visionwest’s flood relief work included (figures up to 23 June 2023):
• 27 whānau housed with Visionwest forced from their homes receiving immediate and ongoing support.
• Community Connectors and our Huia Mai team active in establishing and helping to run the Kelston Civil Defence Centre (CDC).
• Immediate and ongoing food support to local CDCs, Community Hubs, other organisations, and heavily affected locations.
• Working collaboratively with the West Auckland Together Collective to centralise and disseminate key information relating to flood support.
• Establishing and managing an 0800 hotline for support enquiries.
• Money Mentors providing information and support relating to insurance claims, flood relief payments, and general budgeting.
• Mental health support including group sessions and sessions for children at West Auckland Schools; and provision for free ongoing counselling sessions with Mātanga Oranga and our Wellbeing Centre.
• A pop-up pantry restock initiative ensuring those who lost vast quantities of food could restock their homes completely.
• A six-month free loan of ten SUVs, thanks to MG Motor Group, for those who had lost vehicles in the storms.
• Recruitment of staff to focus solely on coordinating our flood relief response.
• Door-to-door visitation teams to whānau living in damaged homes to supply food and information about accessing services and funding.
• Working with 84 families to replace lost items such as kitchenware, whiteware, houseware, and clothing.
As of 23 June, over $670,000 had been raised for direct flood relief and 92% of this had been spent.