Resilience at forefront of Napier's post Cyclone recovery

Tuesday 2 May 2023, 8:01AM

By Napier City Council



A more resilient Napier is at the forefront of Napier City Council’s Locality Plan, which was submitted to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Group on Friday.

As part of the official Cyclone Gabrielle recovery, councils and partner agencies throughout Hawke’s Bay, were asked to produce locality plans to outline their immediate needs and priorities for the next six months.

The plans will give the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Group information to prepare a Regional Plan to present to central government.

Richard Munneke, Napier City Council Recovery Programme Manager, says the submission of the Locality Plan is a significant step in the road to recovery.

“Our priorities are to work alongside regional and national partners to advocate for the people and communities most severely impacted – but also Napier as a whole, which lost lifelines, infrastructure and became cut-off from the rest of Hawke’s Bay and the country,” Richard says.

“It is unacceptable that over 70,000 residents were left without lifelines including health services, power, road connectivity in every direction, wastewater, drinking water, internet, and cellphone networks.”

The Awatoto industrial area, which employs approximately 1000 people from across the region, was inundated as the stop banks were breached. This severely impacted businesses in the area and the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which became inoperable and was only operational again, with limited capacity in April.

Kirsten Wise, Mayor of Napier, acknowledges everyone who contributed and developed the Plan within the short time frame provided.

“We need to put our best foot forward when it comes to recovery and I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to speak to us and provide their feedback.

“While we cannot control the nature of future events the intent and cornerstone of our recovery planning is that our community is never placed in this completely isolated and vulnerable situation again,” Mayor Kirsten says.

The Plan was co-developed and co-authored by mana whenua and tangata whenua representatives on the Ngā Mānukanuka o te Iwi Committee and Napier City Council. It addresses five pillars of recovery; social, built, natural, rural and economic.

Feedback for Napier’s Locality Plan was sought via an online survey and four community meetings held in areas significantly impacted by the Cyclone.

Following the implementation of the first Locality Plan, Napier City Council and its mana whenua and tangata whenua partners intend to undertake meaningful engagement with the community to support the development of a second Locality Plan, which is due around early September 2023.

The focus of the second Locality Plan will be the medium and longer-term steps that are required to support Napier to recover from the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle and to provide greater resilience to future events. 

“We will communicate the progress and provide updates of our recovery planning regularly. We will use the insights to inform short and medium-term recovery work and the investment that needs to be made into the future (including through the Council’s Long-Term Plan),” Richard says.

The Napier Locality Plan can be read in its entirety on the Napier City Council website at keyword Cyclone Recovery.