Tai Rāwhiti leaders meet to discuss region's future, Gabrielle recovery

9:21 am on 23 February 2024
Damage to bridges in the East Coast region after Cyclone Gabrielle

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

A meeting between Tai Rāwhiti-Gisborne iwi, business, council and community leaders and government representatives is underway.

More than 100 people were expected at the Tai Rāwhiti Tomorrow Together Summit in Awapuni, just over a year on from Cyclone Gabrielle.

Social and economic issues were top of the agenda, with the goal of a practical and achievable "future action plan" for the region.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said the fact 30 percent of the new Cabinet were involved in the summit was a testament to the new government's commitment to Tai Rāwhiti.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz says agencies talk to each other but sometimes information is not shared in good time.

Rehette Stoltz. Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

There will be a keynote speech by the Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell, as well as addresses by iwi, business leaders and council representatives. Presentations and discussions will follow in the afternoon.

But other senior ministers will only be appearing by pre-recorded video, including Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka, Transport MInister Simeon Brown, Minister for Regional Development Shane Jones and Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Todd McClay.

The region had a range of challenges, including areas of high deprivation. The cyclone added to those needs - 3000 faults were logged on the roads, 61 bridges needed repairs or replacements, alongside buyouts and storm protection for at-risk areas.

The council has been clear it needed government support to fix things.

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