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Whakaoranga Waipuketanga

Flood recovery advice

Numerous agencies, groups and individuals at every level contribute to the Tairāwhiti district recovery.

This information relates to flood recovery following cyclones Gabrielle and Hale in 2023.

A state of local emergency was declared in Tairāwhiti on Monday 13 February 2023 and was quickly upgraded to a national state of emergency the following day. The national state of emergency ended 14 March. In response to Cyclone Gabrielle Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Emergency Management is now into the recovery phase.

On 10 January 2023 a state of emergency was declared due to the impact of ex-tropical Cyclone Hale.
Our region continues in recovery from both these weather events.

Ongoing recovery from recent storm events

Cyclone Gabrielle came in the wake of 7 significant storms since June 2021. Numerous agencies, groups and individuals at every level have contributed and continue to contribute to the Tairāwhiti district recovery.

Both events this year generated major flooding extensively throughout the region and was particularly compounded with the impacts since the last significant storm event in March/April 2022.

Future of severely affected land

Some areas badly hit by Cyclone Gabrielle have been designated under a group of categories set by Government depending on the extent of damage and the potential for rebuilding.

The categories relate to low, medium and high risk.

This Government classification is separate to Council’s red-sticker assessments and has major implications on whether people can return to their properties or not. For more information, visit Future of severely affected land page.

If you need assistance

We continue to assist communities affected by the severe weather and flood events across Tairāwhiti. If you need assistance please contact us

On this page

Rates relief

If your home, business or property has been hit hard by Cyclone Gabrielle

Including if your property has been red or yellow stickered, we have rates relief options available

Donations to the Disaster Relief Trust

We've received some very kind offers to donate to those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. We appreciate all your support. Any donations are gratefully accepted and can be made to the Disaster Relief Trust account.

The Disaster Relief Trust is a registered charity and every donation made will be tax deductible. This is being run by Gisborne District Council. The funds will be distributed to those who meet the criteria. The Mayoral Relief Fund will be used first – this has $1M funds contributed by central Government, then the Disaster Relief Trust donations will be used next.

Donations can be made to the Disaster Relief Trust:

Account Name: Gisborne District Council
Account: 03 0638 0502288 00
For overseas payments - SWIFT code: WPACNZ2W
Reference: Disaster

Mayoral Relief Fund and Disaster Relief Trust

The Tairāwhiti Mayoral Relief Fund closed for applications at 5pm Thursday 27 April.

This fund is to help communities, individuals, families and community organisations affected by Cyclone Gabrielle to get immediate access to funds to assist with recovery. It provides a one-off payment to help alleviate damage or loss experienced due to the flooding, prolonged power outages and landslips.

Criteria for the Mayoral Relief Fund

Yellow stickered house

For owners of a flood-affected, yellow stickered house. Building inspectors have checked your house and assessed it as 'restricted' access only. This is shown by a yellow sticker placed on the building. This allows access to remove household goods, water-damaged belongings, water-damaged wall and floor linings and insulations, and to remove silt from under the house.

You may occupy your house before all flood-damaged repairs have been completed, if the building is safe and dry enough. See details below.

What does a yellow sticker mean?

Yellow sticker (placard) indicates the house has suffered moderate damage. Flood water may have made it unhealthy, or it may be threatened by land movement. The placard will state what access is allowed.

Having your home yellow stickered can be traumatic, but there is support available to help guide you through it.

What needs to be done to get back into my house?

Make sure you contact your insurer as soon as you can.

Record the damage. Make lists and take photos or videos of all damage including flooded property, carpets, soft furniture and any other ruined or contaminated items.

  • Remove wet wall linings and insulation to allow framing to dry out. Talk to your insurer or contact a builder.
  • Remove all damaged flooring, floor linings and wet floor coverings - carpet or lino. Note if the lino is very old it may contain asbestos, see advice.
  • Remove flood-damaged furniture, whiteware, joinery. This includes kitchen and bathroom cabinets if they are water-damaged.
  • Get the power source checked for safety by a registered electrician. If you have an upper floor unaffected by flooding, isolate the power in the damaged area if possible.
  • Get the gas system checked by a gasfitter. Check if bottles have moved, they may have floated and the couplings may be damaged.
  • Check for any structural damage to the building. Foundations or piles may have moved. Either contact us or a qualified professional.
  • Remove silt from under the floor. Wooden floors require 550mm clearance to the ground and there must be adequate crawl space under buildings – approximately 250mm to 300mm under the bearers.
    You may be able to occupy the building before the silt is removed, as long as there is adequate subfloor ventilation.
    • If your building is well off the ground, you may not need to do this step.
  • If there are trees threatening a house, these may need to be removed.

If you live in a rural area:

  • Check gully traps and that the main drain to the septic tank is clear of silt.
  • Check that the septic tank is not filled with silt.
  • Check the water supply pumps. Most are under the floor and may have been under water and could need replacing or servicing.

A house will typically take several days or weeks to dry out enough to allow you to move back in again.

To help speed up the drying process, ventilate everyday by opening doors and windows.

Big industrial fans or dehumidifiers will also help. But please make sure you have the electrical supply into the house checked first.

You can move back in to your house before you re-line with GIB.

Most of the repairs won't require building consent, but contact our Building Services team first. They will check the moisture content first before you replace the GIB.

If your house was built after 1990 - please contact our Building Services team on (06) 863 1605 for advice about reinstating the bracing.

Once you think it's dry and the damage or hazard has been removed or repaired

Contact our Building Services team, they will review the yellow sticker. Please call us Ph: (06) 863 1605

1. Electrical check. Please provide confirmation from a registered electrician.

If you live in a rural area, have you checked that the water pump is working. It may be under the floor and may have been under water.

2. Gas check. Please show us confirmation from a gas fitter

If you have gas bottles, they may have moved.

2. Do you have a safe water supply?

If you live in a rural area, have you checked your water tank?

3. Is your wastewater system working?

If you live in a rural area, has a drainlayer checked your septic tank if it's not working?

4. Is the house dry enough?
5. Is there silt under the house?

We will check that there is adequate ventilation between the silt and floorboards.

6. Has any other threat such as trees been checked or removed?

If all the tests above are clear, we will talk with you above moving back in to your home.

If you're not insured, please contact a welfare agency or you may be eligible for Mayoral Relief funding.

Download - Owner of a Flood-Affected Yellow Stickered House?

Red stickered house

Council will only issue a Red Placard (Red Sticker) when a building is too dangerous to enter following a disaster. The building may be threatened by a slip, undermined by a stream or river scour or have actually been damaged by land movements.

Land movements are especially problematic as they may occur at any time, even after the rain has stopped.

What does a red sticker mean?

Houses may be red stickered if they're deemed uninhabitable when the structure has been affected or threatened by flooding or land movement. The effect of being red stickered means that until Council is satisfied the threat has been removed, you should not be in your property unless it’s to remove valuable possessions or essential items.

Occupants of red stickered houses that are insured should contact insurance providers for alternative accommodation cover.
Contact our building inspectors if you have any concerns:

  • Mike Elers – 027 685 7552
  • Ian Petty – 027 628 7075

We are very careful when we issue a Red Sticker as it may require the building to be vacated for a considerable length of time until a slip has stabilised. Generally the Red Sticker will state:-

The building must be vacated and remain empty until an assessment has been carried out by a geotechnical professional with either CPEng or PEngGeol qualifications.

At that time, the recommendation may be that the building can be reoccupied or a retaining wall or inground palisade wall is required to stabilize the land.

Both these types of walls require a building consents from Council and must be designed by an CPEng structural engineer.

If this occurs then the occupation restriction will remain in place until the wall has been built and a Code Compliance Certificate is issued.

Insurance and lodging a claim

If you have damage to your home, property or car, contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

Subject to Section 124 Building Act

The Tairawhiti region, as an area affected by an emergency, has been designated as an area for building management under the Building Act 2004 (section 133BC). This designation came into force at 8.30am on 31 March 2022 and remains until 31 March 2025 unless otherwise relinquished prior.

If your home, car or contents have been damaged by the severe weather, take photos before you remove or repair anything and report it to your insurance company as soon as possible.

You only need to contact your insurance company and they’ll let you know what to do next, how to claim and – if applicable - how EQC cover works.

If you need to make your home safe, sanitary, secure and weathertight, record the work done - take before and after photos and keep copies of the bills you paid.

If your home is damaged and uninhabitable, ask your insurance provider if you are eligible for a temporary accommodation benefit which is included in most home and content policies.

If you need to make your home safe, sanitary, secure, and weather-tight, please record the work done. Take before and after photos, and keep copies of the bills you've paid.

The Residential Advisory Service (RAS) within MBIE provide advocacy services and advice to homeowners who are navigating insurance claims to remediate damage suffered due to an event.

For more information you can contact: info@advisory.org.nz or phone 0800 777 299 or 03 379 7027

Silt removal and disposal

If you need help to clear silt around your house, we can help you whether you’re insured or uninsured.

Please contact us online. Our priority is homes that have been yellow and red stickered, but we know there are more homes in need of help.

The more information you give us is really helpful, then we can ensure you get the right help or advice. We need:

  • Your address and contact phone number
  • If you have insurance - your provider's name
  • Describe where the silt is  - such as around or under your house, garage etc
  • If you know the depth or the square metres it covers.

Email us on service@gdc.govt.nz with ‘Silt Removal Request’ in the subject line.
Fill in the online eFix form

  • Our primary focus has been to get whānau back into their homes post Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • We have completed silt removal from 100 residential properties who have registered through a request for service (RFS).
  • There are 18 residential properties remaining on our list generated from an RFS.
  • We have helped remove silt around houses in line with the insurance guidance at the time. This being 8 meters around a residential home, the car garage and sleepout, if there was one there at the time of the event. These have been completed from an RFS to Council and were completed for insured and non-insured.
  • If you have silt around your residential property that is a concern, please let us know on 0800 653 800.

  • Our primary focus is to get whānau back into their homes post Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • If you have silt under your residential property and are concerned that it is causing issues to your home, please let us know on 0800 653 800.
  • Please report if you have concerns regardless of whether you are insured or not.
  • We will record this and get one of the building team (if they haven’t already been out to your property) to inspect to see whether silt removal is required.
  • We will also assess against our records for whether you’ve already accessed funding or assistance for silt removal.
  • The building team will assess clearance between the floor and ground level, before recommending any silt removal.
  • If you have 550 mm or more clearance between the floorboards and the ground, silt removal from under your house may not be considered necessary, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • If the home was built with a clearance less than 550 mm, guidance will be provided by our building inspectors.
  • Our building team will provide additional guidance if required.
  • Homes with concrete ring foundations are difficult. Access under the house can be tricky. These must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  • If residents remove silt from under the house and stockpile it on their property, Council can arrange this to be removed from site and disposed of.
  • For further information please contact us on 0800 653 800.

  • Roading crews and contractors have been across the roading network and completed inspections.
  • A programme has been created for clearance of silt and debris on roads, drains and culverts.
  • Our contractors and crews are working through the region clearing drains and culverts of sediment and debris.
  • This is a work in progress, and it will take time to complete.

Silt disposal sites

Residential and East Coast

By arrangement only, please call our customer service team on 0800 653 800.

Rural commercial silt disposal

163 Matokitoki Valley Road, Matokitoki Clean Fill and Quarry, open 7am – 4.30pm weekdays.

Clean-up support

Transfer stations are operating as usual - see opening hours and charges.

If you have flood-damage items or material to dispose of, please email us on services@gdc.govt.nz  or fill in the online eFix form 

Please provide as much detail as possible with your request such as photos, how much waste, what type of waste, name, address and contact details.

Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) can help with:

  • Removing debris from properties, fixing and re-installing fencing, cleaning stock troughs, clearing pathways for stock movement etc to enable paddocks to be used for stock grazing.
  • Repairing damage to community assets such as marae, business enterprises located on Māori land used for commercial purposes, community gardens, community halls, public recreational areas.
  • Properties when there's a recognised health and safety concern.
Farmers, growers and communities can self-register for ETFG clean-up help by contacting 0800 787 254

Download the Rural Support Information Sheet

Community volunteers

If community volunteers would like to offer their assistance in helping with clean-up from cyclone Gabrielle, you can:

Animal welfare

Feed support

If you're short of feed, support's available to help source supplementary feed or grazing for livestock.

The Feed Coordination Service connects farmers with surplus feed – such as hay, silage, or grazing – to farmers and lifestyle block owners who need it.

Farmers using the service meet the costs of feed and transport. To access feed support:

  • To register your request or if you have feed available, please visit www.fedfarm.org.nz
  • Or you can phone 0800 327 646 option 2 and request a call back.

If your animals need veterinary treatment, contact your own veterinary clinic or find one nearby via the New Zealand Veterinary Association website: www.nzva.org.nz

Animal welfare concerns can be logged with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on 0800 008 333.

First Aid Kit for Animals

Financial support

The Lottery Minister’s Discretionary Fund can provide grants to community organisations supporting local communities, or facilities that have been affected by flooding damage.

Funding can be utilised to support initiatives and activities that:

  • assist community organisations that provide support services and have seen an increased demand for their services due to a natural disaster event
  • repair, restore or revitalise community facilities that have been damaged by a natural disaster event
  • provide partnership funding for work with other government agencies or non-profit groups with a shared purpose of supporting communities affected by a natural disaster event.

Making a request

The Lottery Minister’s Discretionary Fund can provide grants to community organisations supporting local communities, or facilities that have been affected by flooding damage.

Contact  Serena Foster, Department of Internal Affairs 0800 824 824 or serena.foster@dia.govt.nz

Financial support

Note: MSD is ending Civil Defence Payments for Tairāwhiti on Saturday 15 April. The cyclone flood line 0800 400 100 will close at 1pm on that day.

This allows more time for staff to work proactively with those who have had Civil Defence Payments previously, and continue to support them any way they can.

Civil Defence Payments are designed specifically to support people in affected regions during the response stage of an emergency event like Cyclone Gabrielle. As we’ve moved from the response phase into recovery on the East Coast, there continue to be lots of other ways we can help people.

MSD’s preference now is to talk with people directly, quickly assess their needs and work out how best to help. Hardship payments, employment support, financial assistance and accommodation costs are all available to people who need it.

You don’t have to be on a benefit to qualify for a Civil Defence Payment, and non-residents may be eligible. In most cases it doesn’t matter what your income is or what assets you have.

These can help with

  • emergency food, clothing and bedding if they have been damaged or destroyed
  • loss of income due to an inability to work caused by cyclone
  • costs if you’ve had to leave your home
  • a payment if you have evacuees staying with you in places such as a private home, marae or community centres.

You must be in one of these situations because of the emergency

  • you had to leave your home, such as you’ve been evacuated or you’re on stand-by
  • you were away from your home at the time of the emergency and can’t return
  • you need help with food, bedding or clothing
  • you can’t go to work.

You must also

  • not be able to cover your costs from insurance, or you haven’t been paid yet.
  • not have access to any other help such as public donations and relief funds.

If you’re not sure whether insurance will cover your costs, you may still qualify for a Civil Defence Payment.
However, if you get a Civil Defence Payment and then your insurance pays for any costs covered by this, you’ll need to pay it back.

Assistance with other costs

Depending on your situation, there's other ways the Ministry of Social Development may be able to help with medical costs, bedding, food, rent, power bills, water tank refills and essential repairs such as effluent systems.

Talk to MSD now, phone 0800 559 009 or head to their website

March/April weather event

Across Gisborne district a total of 591 impacted whānau received 1007 payments totalling just over $415,000.00.
The majority of payments were for loss of income. MSD standard measures of financial assistance remains available to support those navigating recovery from recent Tairāwhiti rainfall events. Partners and agencies are able to escalate to MSD any whānau with unmet need.

Trust Tairāwhiti – email businesssupport@trusttairawhiti.nz or ph: 06 867 2640,  apply on their website

Tairāwhiti businesses can apply for a business support grant of up to $40,000 to support their recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

Applications for Business Support Grants close midnight Sunday 16 April.

If your business has been adversely affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and meets the eligibility criteria, ensure you get your application submitted before the closing date.
Please note you can only apply once for this grant.

Apply for a business support grant

The criteria to apply for a business support grant:
  • business must be located in the Tairāwhiti region
  • face significant cashflow issues due to continued challenges with customer access, ability to source stock, supply chain issues, inability to operate as usual due to physical damage to equipment or premises, or delays in insurance assessment and repairs
  • be an otherwise viable business both before and after the flooding
  • not have received or be eligible to receive any funding from the MPI recovery fund at the time the business is being considered for a grant under the Business Recovery Grants Programme
  • commit to acting in line with employment law and with due regard to its employees.

Health support / advice
  • Healthline 0800 611 116
  • Need to talk – text or phone 1737

Gisborne office on Palmerston Road ph: 0800 473 566

Qualifying farmers can receive up to $6000 to seek independent financial or business advice. The Farm Business Advice Fund is managed by Rural Support Trusts. Banks are jointly funding the initiative.

Apply through your local Rural Support Trust

This fund provides financial assistance where there is an identified urgent need due to a declared adverse event such as a drought, fire, flood or earthquake.

It's available to individuals, communities and groups, with a particular emphasis on rural women and children.


Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) ph: 0508 754 163

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) ph: 0800 836 262 or www.tenancy.govt.nz

Support for farmers and growers

Flood recovery resources

Ph 0800 787 254 or www.rural-support.org.nz

Ph: 021 529 041 Sandra Faulkner

Ph: 0800 233 352 or  Flood recovery support

Ph: 0508 467 869 or Andrew Bristol 021 216 2021

Horticulture NZ

Ph: 0800 327 646 or their website Adverse event information

Federated Farmers - Charlie Reynolds 021 529 126

Ph: 0800 432 479 69 or Flood information

Storm assessments and reports