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Nice work and credit where it is due

Our thoughts are with all those affected by the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle. Tragically lives have been lost and livelihoods destroyed. Many communities need support as they deal with the overwhelming devastation they are facing to their homes, properties and businesses.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle we wanted to recognise some of the great initiatives that some New Zealand businesses have launched to help people affected.


Nice work to Foodstuffs for their thoughtful response to the distress caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. They have partnered with Whakarongorau Aotearoa/New Zealand Telehealth Services, to offer free 24/7 mental health support.

This service provides free, confidential support for people feeling stressed or overwhelmed following Cyclone Gabrielle.

For people feeling overwhelmed or stressed following Cyclone Gabrielle, by calling or texting 1737, people can connect with a trained councilor who can provide free, confidential support and ideas to help manage stress and anxiety.

MD of Foodstuffs, Chris Quin says, ‘We understand events like Cyclone Gabrielle and the ongoing bad weather can cause significant stress and anxiety for individuals and communities. That’s why we are partnering with Whakarongorau Aotearoa, to remind people that support, and advice is available, and how to access it when they’re ready.’

Pak’nsave, New World and Four Square stores in affected areas are promoting this service on receipts, announcements on in-store speaker system, via Facebook and email.

Great job Foodstuffs!



Cyclone Gabrielle has wiped out tens of thousands of kilometers of rural fences, with estimates of the total repair cost running into many hundreds of millions.

Farmlands partnered with Federated Farmers and Stuff to launch an initiative Post Your Support to help farmers and growers and get back on their feet.

Post Your Support provides the funds, materials and person-power that farmers and growers need to get fences and growing structures up. The focus will be on donors ‘buying’ fenceposts for $20 each, which will then go towards paying for a metre of replacement fencing, at a discounted price.

The fundraising has been kicked off with about $650,000 in contributions from various bodies including: $225,000 from Farmlands, $150,000 from Federated Farmers, $100,000 from Silver Fern Farms, $30,000 from FMG and $100,000 from the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Nice work Farmlands and all the generous donors!


The telecommunications providers - Spark, Vodafone and 2 degrees

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit – power was lost as well as the connections to link cell towers and exchanges to the national network with the landslips and flooding. 660 mobile towers were knocked offline with about 80% of cell site outages were related to power loss, and 20% to loss of backhaul connectivity.Generators were deployed and only 96 hours, 90% of the towers were back online.

Damaged fibre cable between Napier and Te Pōhue. Image credit: Chorus

The telecommunication industry worked together to priorities restoring emergency services connectivity first to help save lives, then co-ordinated cell site restoration to get 111 access coverage to as many people as possible (all customers could connect to all cell sites regardless of what network you were with). This meant when a mobile site was restored, all customers could call 111.

Spark had teams working overnight to provide support to customers in areas affected by Cyclone Gabrielle as well as further supporting customers by:

  • Automatically give prepaid mobile customers 100GB of data

  • Unlimited calling and text for prepaid mobile customers supporting those who are in areas where data is not yet up and running and for people who did not have unlimited or large/SMS calling packs

  • Customers on endless plans had reduced speed thresholds lifted

  • Customers with rollover data plans have had data caps lifted so they have unlimited data

Vodafone gave customers with disconnected broadband ‘Always Connected’ which contained 7 days’ worth of data for your phone to use as a hotspot until services come back. As well as:

  • Stopped all late payment or disconnection fees

  • Replacement of emergency phones and modems in-store

  • Applied free data to customers impacted

2 degrees teams worked around the clock to restore connections with a focus on Napier and wider Hawkes Bay. Service agents added data packs to those who need them, customers could also request them in-store, via social media or an online form.

Nice work to Spark, Vodafone and 2 degrees for their hard work connecting New Zealanders 👏👏👏👏


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