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Recovery innovation recognised
1 June 2018
Recovery innovation recognised
The Whakatāne District Recovery Team has been acknowledged for “exceptional innovation or creativity that has pushed the boundaries of current Civil Defence Emergency Management practice in New Zealand”.
 
At a national Civil Defence awards function last night, the Whakatāne District Council-led District Recovery Project – Kia Manawanui, which managed the recovery from the impacts of ex-Cyclones Debbie and Cook in April 2017, was praised for its innovative approach, which included delivering the unique Liveable Homes project.
 
Recovery Manager Barbara Dempsey says it needs to be recognised that the recovery effort is still ongoing, with close to 20 percent of the homes damaged by flooding still to have repairs completed. Significant progress had been made, however, in no small measure due to the efforts of a Recovery Team made up of “diversely-skilled people, driven by the common purpose of restoring damaged lives, homes and infrastructure”.
 
“The Liveable Homes Project, which returned flood-damaged dwellings to a ‘liveable’ state for people who did not have the means to repair their homes, is an example of seeing and seizing an opportunity to ‘build-back-better’, ensuring that no-one was left behind in the recovery process,” she says.
 
“Liveable Homes collaboratively pooled volunteer expertise – led by retired builder John Pullar – raised over $1.4m of funding sourced from community agencies and successfully rebuilt 17 homes for vulnerable individuals and whānau.”
 
The scope of the project also incorporated an innovative free home insulation offer, funded by the Eastern Bay Energy Trust, which saw over 200 families or individuals return to warmer, safer and healthier homes – a clear realisation of an opportunity to regenerate and enhance the community’s future.
 
Also recognised was Kia Manawanui’s approach of “integration, partnership and collaboration”, exemplified by the establishment of a Recovery Hub which saw multi-sector agencies, stakeholders and staff working together in an open-plan environment. The Recovery Hub ensured that a comprehensive response could be provided for community needs, leveraging positive outcomes for affected residents and effectively creating a new template for this aspect of disaster recovery.