In Gisborne’s blackout,

the Māori response shone brightly

Gisborne has been brutally hit by Cyclone Gabrielle, but the response by both its officials and tangata whenua has been admirable. 

Tairāwhiti has been ravaged by a natural disaster once again. As well as feeling the full force of Cyclone Gabrielle, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake shook the region on Monday night. But the cyclone has done most of the damage. Speaking to RNZ, MetService’s Lisa Murray said Cyclone Gabrielle pelted Gisborne with 400mm of rain in 24 hours. The Gisborne District Council (GDC) puts that figure even higher, at 450mm. Gisborne’s average rainfall for the entire month of February is usually just 64.51mm.

The extreme rainfall, combined with high tide just before 1am, caused widespread flooding throughout the night. Riverside properties across Gisborne were particularly at risk, many being evacuated. The GDC records water levels of Gisborne’s rivers at 32 sites across the region, and last week, the average height across all rivers was below 5m. Since Gabrielle hit, the GDC has recorded river levels of 7m-10m at seven sites and 11m-14m at six sites. Unfortunately, Tairāwhiti is not out of the woods yet, with another 50-80mm of rain projected on Tuesday. 

Link to article: In Gisborne’s blackout, the Māori response shone brightly | The Spinoff


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