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Cyclone Gabrielle recovery

Recovery Update: May 1 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle landed in Aotearoa on 13 February 2023, impacting most of our Northern District

A recovery office has been established, based at Waikato District Council, with workstreams focusing on the economic, social, built and natural environments (buildings, roads, water etc)

Actions have been identified and are being delivered by the recovery team.  

The vast majority of their actions are linked to Port Waikato and the north-western roading network.


Our Economic Development Team has led a series of promotions to the MBIE Business support grant to ensure that businesses impacted could apply for financial assistance. Details of these can be found here.

The promotion included a direct link to the WDC Economic Development Advisors if support for the application was required. 

In addition, the Economic Development team has promoted the MBIE fund through a series of business networks and community groups. 

A meeting with the Ministry of Primary Industries was undertaken this week where further understanding of possible ongoing support for the rural businesses could be delivered.  Economic Development Team is working across this. 

MSD’s Enhanced Task Force Green has been active in the North Waikato supporting farmers with clean-up activities.  


Rural Support Trust have been proactive in the social wellbeing staff running events and activities for farmers in the Wairamarama area to support wellbeing and social connection. 

Community Resilience Planning is under way with a focus on Community Response Plans. These plans are being prioritised based on risk. 

The Economic and Community Led Development Team and two members of staff are undertaking case management follow up with all affected Port Waikato homeowners of the red, yellow, and white stickered homes. 

The up-to-date analysis of the support required will be completed this week.   Many of the residents are grateful for the service that the Council is providing in terms of follow up support.    

To ensure a sustainable approach to the predicted ongoing support required, WDC is looking for funding support to help either backfill roles or hire specialists to support the social needs of our affected communities.  

Applications for the second round of Mayoral Relief funding is closed with about 25 applications being reviewed this week. 

Conversation between the Insurance Council and EQC have begun to ensure assessors are providing correct information to claimants around how to have a yellow / red stickers removed from a home.


All white stickers placed on 19 properties in Port Waikato expired after 21 days. There are currently 5 red stickers (originally 6) and 14 yellow stickers still in effect.

Homeowners have been informed that once appropriate work has been undertaken, they must notify the Council and request a reassessment. A sticker can be downgraded, from red to yellow for example, or removed all together. 

Any designation of an area for building emergency management must be reviewed by the CDEM decision-maker at least every 90 days, and will expire after three years unless terminated sooner or extended.

This will require work and co-ordination between teams over the next 3-4 weeks. Council will begin the process of contacting owners of all stickered properties (including white stickers) to confirm their status and offer advice and support. 

Geotech work

On Friday 14th April a site visit to Port Waikato was undertaken by geotechnical engineers from Tonkin & Taylor to assess the entire hillside (Putataka) behind Maunsell Rd.

They reported that at least 15 slips were assessed.

A list of Maunsell Road properties that have been stickered stickers has been provided so that they can be checked against the information collected during the site visit.

Report findings are expected to be back with Waikato District Council in June 2023. 


The Waikato District Alliance is still awaiting design, costings, and timings for more permanent / resilient solutions to roading damage in the north-western Waikato area. 

Community feedback is being sought to gain an understanding on what/where they believe is a priority for future works. 

While all roads are open, roading damage is causing psychosocial issues and real concern that it will damage the rural economy. 

The assessment of the roading repairs required for the Waikato District Council roading network has come in at $18 million. 

Due to the sheer volume and cost of damage, WDC will require additional support and funding from Waka Kotahi and the government to initiate repairs that are required to maintain the roading network to ensure rural residents have sustainable access to healthcare, education, and supplies. 

Port Waikato stormwater network

Watercare and contractors continue their work to assess and repair stormwater drains at Port Waikato.

A desktop analysis has been conducted to understand the current network capacity in relation to the extent of water run-off that occurs in Port Waikato.

Work is currently focused on clearing debris and sediment, howeverthis is only a temporary solution.

Watercare recognises that another storm event will again damage the network. Longer term solutions to upgrade sections such as the drain between Maunsell Rd and the hillside are still being investigated. 

What to do if you need support

Our team will be in touch regularly with impacted residents. There are also a number of other support options available. 

  • The Ministry of Social Development has set up a dedicated floodline for those in need of financial support as a result of the floods. Please call them on 0800 400 100.
  • MSD support for disabled people is available here.
  • Waikato district residents in need of support can call the welfare team on 0800 492 452 for advice.
  • Here To Help U is always available to assist our communities, with access to temporary accommodation, food, wellbeing and other general support.
  • The Rural Support Trust is available to support rural residents who are experiencing or worried about any or personal and/or business-related pressure, whether it stresses related to employment, financial, animal welfare, health and wellbeing challenges and more. They are asking impacted residents in the Waikato district to contact them by Friday 17 February; you can call them on 0800 787 254.

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