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Tairawhiti acknowledged in a joint win for Cyclone Gabrielle volunteers – GDC

Every volunteer who helped after Cyclone Gabrielle was recognised at the New Zealander of the Year awards last night in Auckland.

Under the Community of the Year category, judges decided to make it a joint win and include all the volunteers across the country who pitched during the aftermath of the cyclone, which hit Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay the hardest on 13 and 14 February last year.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz said it was a privilege to attend the awards ceremony and celebrate everyone in our community who helped those in need.

“Tears were flowing as they reflected on the huge amount of work our volunteers did to look after our community during this tough time.

“Their work is ongoing as our volunteers still serve us every day on our journey to recovery.”

The volunteers were described as selfless individuals who undertook relentless unpaid work. Their mahi ranged from cleaning mud under damaged homes to stripping interiors, removing debris from orchards, and providing essential support to those affected. Efforts went beyond physical labour and encompassed mental health support for individuals as well.

Tairāwhiti resident Graeme Atkins was also one of three nominees for the Environmental Hero of the Year award.

“What an achievement for our region,” says Mayor Rehette Stoltz.

 

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