Update on Ōtautahi fires

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February 17, 2017

Kia ora anō tātou,

Today we have been blessed with cooler conditions and rain began to fall consistently after midday.

Planning is underway to reduce the cordoned areas around the perimeter of the fire, and this afternoon the first cordon was lifted in Cashmere allowing people to return to their homes – positive news for everyone.

Yesterday Te Rūnanga staff made phone calls to approximately 1100 whānau living on the Port Hills and in neighbouring areas. Today we completed calls to those we were unable to contact yesterday and were busy making follow-up calls to some whānau members.

In total we have identified 14 whānau members who have been evacuated, but they are all safe and well. We have been unable to contact everyone on our list and have had to leave messages for over 120 whānau members.

We will continue to try and reach these whānau, but please if you require assistance, or know someone who does, contact us here by phoning 0800 KAITAHU (0800 524824).

Please be mindful and keep an eye out for your friends and whānau over the next few weeks. We have all been through a lot lately and stress and anxiety can present at different times for everybody.

We have been in contact with all our Papatipu Marae in the region, no one at Tuahiwi, Wairewa, Taumutu has been directly affected. The same can be said for Rāpaki, but we are taking extra care to make sure our kaumātua living there are well given the disruptions the fires have caused in Whakaraupo and the smoke that has affected the area for the past four days.

The Welfare Centres in Halswell, Te Hapua, and at Ngā Hau e Whā Marae have officially been closed today. Te Hapua, the Halswell Library, has now been designated as a Recovery Assessment Centre, where whānau can go to seek information and assistance.

There is a sense of relief prevailing around the office and throughout the community now that the rain has appeared to set in – unusual for a Friday afternoon when we are often looking to the weekend for sunny blue skies.

We are not out of danger yet with Civil Defence warning there is still a lot of work to do, but we wait expectantly for the fires to be officially over.

Arihia Bennett

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

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