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NZ-RT17 Whakatane

Key contacts
Team Leaders: Alan Keeber 0274988866
Team Manager: Tony Gillard 0272809497

History and activities
Whakatane Emergency Response Team (WERT) was established as an offshoot of the Whakatane Volunteer Rural Force, which was deployed to the Bay of Plenty floods in 2004 and the Matata debris flow in 2005. After Matata, it was decided that to improve capability and assist the Whakatane District Council fulfil it’s responsibilities under the CDEM Act 2002, USAR capability would be advantageous. So WERT was formed and registered as NZ-RT17 in 2006. NZ-RT17 is one of three registered teams in the Bay of Plenty (NZ-RT16 Tauranga and NZRT15 Rotorua). There are currently 20 active members and the team is owned by Whakatane District Council.

Deployment history
In 2008 WERT assisted the Police Dive Squad with a body recovery in the Waioeka Gorge.
Team capability includes rope response, swiftwater response, general rescue and flood and storm response. All volunteers have first aid qualifications and we have a paramedic and an advanced paramedic ready to deploy.

Team goals
In the new response team environment, WERT are looking to focus on the needs and risks in our area and enhance the Eastern Bay’s capacity to respond.