Port Hills fires

The office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is working across a number of fronts to support our whānau and staff affected by the fires which continue to burn on the Port Hills above Ōtautahi.

The welfare of Ngāi Tahu whānau and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu staff is the priority for the office at this time. This is a very worrying, stressful and uncertain time for many of our whānau.

We have identified approximately 1100 whānau members living in, or close to the affected areas and are doing our best to contact each of them today to make sure they are safe and offer whatever help we can. This includes accommodation, medical assistance and financial support if required.

We are also offering support to our staff and wider whānau who have been directly affected by the fires – those who have been evacuated or have self-evacuated, and those who have any whānau, health or safety issues or concerns related to the fire.

Providing support to Civil Defence is another important aspect of our response. Tuahiwi and Rehua Marae are on standby ready to take evacuees, and we are actively supporting Ngā Hau e Whā Marae, which is currently open to receive evacuees.

We find ourselves again responding to a natural disaster affecting our whānau; just like we responded in Kaikōura after the devastating earthquake in November, we’re again swinging into action.

This is another blow to Canterbury region, but by pulling together as a community we will support each other and work together to overcome these events.

Arihia Bennett | Chief Executive Officer / Te Kaihautū | Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu | PO Box 13 046 | Christchurch 8141| Aotearoa | Executive Assistant DDI – 03 371 2636

Our latest update on Facebook is also as follows:

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has been busy today making phone calls to whānau living on the Port Hills and neighbouring suburbs to make sure they are safe and well or in need of any assistance.

Staff volunteers made over 1000 calls from our list of whānau currently on our database. Those that we were able to contact were very grateful for the call, and thankfully none that we spoke to were in dire need of assistance. Some whānau we weren’t able to make contact with directly, so we have left messages or will call again tomorrow. Quite a few don’t have current phone numbers or they have been disconnected.

If you know of whānau that have been evacuated, or self-evacuated and are in need of assistance in any shape or form please encourage them to contact our Call Centre, ph 0800 KAITAHU (0800 524824) between the hours of 8.30am-5.00pm.