Communities near and far have shown their generosity, with healthy support being offered to Wairarapa recovery efforts in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The recently established Wairarapa Mayoral Relief Fund has seen donations start to arrive, with a recent healthy boost landing from the Trust House Foundation in the form of $100,000.

Trust House Foundation spokesperson and President of the Masterton Community Trust, Karl Taucher said the Foundation felt privileged to be in a position to give such a substantial donation to a fund created specifically to support so many across Wairarapa.

This donation, on top of $75,000 received through Government’s response to the cyclone and the many other donations being generously given by Wairarapa locals, will be further bolstered by the Ashburton and Mackenzie District Councils ‘adopting’ Masterton District Council in a bid to support the Wairarapa Mayoral Relief Fund’s fundraising efforts.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown said the Council had no hesitation in signing up when they heard about the ‘adopt a community’ programme.

“We had already launched a Mayoral Flood Relief fund locally, but this programme gives us a direct connection with a badly affected community”, said Mayor Brown.

“Going forward, we want to raise money for our adopted community.”

“Every donation has a huge impact on those most affected by Cyclone Gabrielle,” said Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell.

“The Trust House Foundation’s donation is a massive boost, and I know will mean so much to our local community. I am incredibly grateful for their generosity at a time where our locals really need the help.”

As important are those donations coming from locals from within our district, across the region and further afield. I am completely aware of how hard times are for many right now – and I am floored by the generosity of so many people donating what they can to help out. What an amazing community we are part of!”

Carterton Mayor Hon. Ron Mark welcomed the boost to the Fund from the Minister, stating: “It remains crucial that people and organisations can support Wairarapa folk who have been devastated by this cyclone, and that there is confidence that the funds that they donate, will be used fairly, wisely and impartially.”

“My Mayoral colleagues and I will determine where the priorities are, and who will receive funding, based on the cyclone’s impact and the needs of our local communities.

“I welcome the contribution from central Government and the Minister, who knows the area so well. I look forward to future support from central Government as our communities look to rebuild and restore from the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.”

“Our Rural Advisory Group will act as a link into Council for Carterton’s rural community. It will provide quality and timely advice on rural matters, which is especially important during challenging times.”

South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connelly said he wanted to thank the Trust House Foundation, the Government, and every resident who has donated to the Wairarapa Mayoral Relief Fund.

“We are very fortunate to have the support of central government, local organisations and residents to help the recovery of those affected by the storm,” he said.

“The purpose of the relief fund is to make sure that people who need support, get that support. I expect the processes whereby people can apply for mayoral relief support to made public very soon.”

Masterton Trust Lands Trust have also lent their support to recovery efforts – reaching out to Tinui School to replace educational materials lost in the flooding that swept through the building.

“Tinui school isn’t within our district, but as a Trust set up for and able to help with arts and education – when we saw what had happened to their local school, that’s what we wanted to do, “said Chair of Masterton Trust Lands Trust, Christine Brewster.

“After speaking the principal, he gave us a list and we went and picked it up! Stationary, games, teacher supplies, headphones for the kids – we read the list and went shopping.”

“I think it’s hard for us to realise what those kids are going through.  As chairperson of Masterton Trust Lands Trust – and as a person – I just want to see them not suffering and having something to look forward to. Simple really!”

Recovery Manager Ben Jessep said he was overwhelmed by the public response to the call for help.

“It genuinely feels like an entire country has galvanised to help our east coast communities. We look north and see the utter devastation in Hawke’s Bay and think ourselves lucky – but we have pockets across our district where lives and livelihoods have been massively impacted by Gabrielle.

“The recovery will take some time – but how can we not succeed with so much generosity and so many supporting us?”