Adopt A Community – Waitaki supports the Far North District

Published on 22 February 2023

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Waitaki District is stepping up to help the communities impacted by the weather on the North Island and one of the ways it is doing this is by adopting another district. Waitaki District has been matched with the Far North District in the Adopt a Community initiative which has been set up to support those communities hit hardest by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Waitaki District Council Mayor, Gary Kircher is leading Waitaki in the Adopt a Community programme. “Mayor Tim Cadogan from Central Otago proposed this excellent initiative for councils and communities that are in a position to help districts devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle. I immediately gave Waitaki’s full support to the initiative and through Local Government NZ, I am very pleased that, along with Waipa District, we have been matched with the Far North District.”

LGNZ matched both Waitaki and Waipa Districts with the Far North District. The Far North District is a similar geographical size to Waitaki but has a far larger population of around 74,000 with many younger people and older folks but fewer middle-aged people. There are also some well-off communities and may others which have a high deprivation level, even prior to the cyclone.

Mayor Gary Kircher continued, “Far North District’s Mayor, Moko Tepania, is a bit of a star. I have met him a couple of times since he was elected Mayor in the 2022 local government elections and many Waitaki people will recognise him from his frequent appearances on television news over the past few weeks. He is a very capable young man and prior to the election, was a teacher and first term Councillor. I’m looking forward to working with Mayor Tepania and his team over the coming weeks and months as our Council does what it can to assist their Council.”

The initiative is further supported by Waitaki District Councillors including Deputy Mayor Hana Halalele, “Mayor Tepania is really making his mark on the Far North District. I have been following him on social media and have been really impressed with his work so far. I share my support of the Adopt a Community initiative.”

As of midday, Tuesday 21 February the Far North District there were still 330 homes without power and 2 roads closed due to landslides and fallen trees and a further 11 roads with restricted access. The Far North District is now in the recovery phase and as we all know from experience; local support is crucial to helping communities get back on their feet. The recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint and we are calling on the Waitaki community to support the Far North community in their time of need.

“I hope our Waitaki community can make a positive difference to the Far North community, especially those whose lives have been tipped upside down. Several Councillors and I are working on some fundraising ideas and look forward to Waitaki getting on board to help our northern friends,” concluded Mayor Kircher.

Adopt a District is a nationwide initiative that connects councils with some of our most devastated regions. It is a way for mayors, councils, and the community alike to reach out and provide support - community to community.

Donations can be made to the Far North Mayoral Relief Fund.

Bank Number:   12 3244 0022509 04
Reference:          MRF and Gabrielle

Photo: Far North District Mayor, Moko Tepania (second from left) liaises with team members (Credit: Far North District Council)