20 Sep 2023

Government approves funding for flood resilience work in Tai Rāwhiti

1:43 pm on 20 September 2023

The government has approved $15 million to raise about 200 homes at risk of future flooding.

More than half of this is expected to be spent in the Tairāwhiti settlement of Te Karaka, lifting about 100 homes there.

The area was badly hit by Cyclone Gabrielle in February when the Waipāoa River flooded breaching its stopbanks and destroying properties.

Chris Hipkins made the announcement in his capacity as prime minister while also on a campaign visit to Gisborne.

"The mana whenua of Te Karaka, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, have driven this project, and I want to thank them for the work they have done on this.

"This work is critical for Tai Rāwhiti iwi and homeowners who have been displaced due to the recent weather events."

While broader and more complex resilience measures may longer, raising houses provided an immediate solution that significantly reduced risk, he said.

The $15m was from the $100m funding announced as part of Budget 2023 for practical flood protection infrastructure like stopbanks, as well as other local measures that can protect communities from flooding.

Along with homes in Te Karaka, the funding also provided for a further 100 homes across Tai Rāwhiti to be lifted as determined by the Gisborne District Council.

The cleanup continues in Te Karaka, a settlement inland from Gisborne, in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Locals helping in the clean-up in Te Karaka, a settlement inland from Gisborne, in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle Photo: RNZ / Sam Rillstone