Community support – central government

The National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan 2015 recognises Te Puni Kōkiri as a support agency in the Welfare services function. Its contribution in Civil Defence emergencies around the country in recent years has been significant, as regional staff connect Māori communities to response and recovery efforts. Te Puni Kōkiri has mobilised quickly to take stock of the impacts for whānau Māori and coordinate the delivery of resources and support, as well as facilitate the inclusion of Iwi and key Māori stakeholder representatives in decision making and future planning forum.

Kaikōura and Hurunui

Te Waipounamu regional team deployed staff from Christchurch into Kaikōura and Hurunui on 16 November 2016. Their focus initially was to gather intelligence about the impacts and needs of whānau Māori in the region. Staff went door to door to provide information to whānau and were instrumental in supporting the CDEM efforts of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and Takahanga Marae. Regional staff and Māori Wardens retained a presence in each of these regions for several weeks, ensuring whānau Māori were connected to the support and resources available through the overall recovery effort.

Since then, Te Puni Kōkiri has provided ongoing support to local organisations and groups involved in social wellbeing activities, such as Matariki community events, rangatahi events, and maara kai (community vegetable gardens) initiatives. Te Puni Kōkiri has also focused on ensuring Māori participation in recovery decision making. This includes ensuring manawhenua are represented at an appropriate level in the Kaikōura District Council, the Department of Conservation and NCTIR.


Although the state of emergency following the earthquake largely focused on the Wairau-Awatere ward in Marlborough, many of its communities were subjected to earthquake damage, including Ward, Seddon, and Blenheim as well as, to a lesser degree, Picton. During the initial emergency response phase, patterns emerged that indicated issues and needs specific to whānau. The Māori Emergency Response Network (MEAN) formed with representatives from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Hauora o Ngāti Rarua ki Wairau, Nelson Marlborough DHB Māori and Pacifica staff, Mataawaka ki Te Tau Ihu, Te Piki Oranga, Ngā Wātene o Wairau (Māori Wardens), Iwi and whānau members, and Te Puni Kōkiri (Te Tai Hauauru regional team in Nelson). Te Puni Kōkiri was invited to co-ordinate the MEAN, based at Kimi Hauora Wairau PHO in Blenheim.

The MEAN proved successful in providing a cohesive, collaborative and practical response to whānau in need of help. They provided five FTE Māori staff to support the recovery process in Marlborough and remained a physical presence in affected areas, coordinating emergency service responses as required. Additionally, they provided cultural advice, support and local intelligence to MCDEM during the response and recovery periods.

During the recovery phase, Te Puni Kōkiri brokered Iwi representation onto various steering groups involved in the coordination, response and welfare in MCDEM. Te Puni Kōkiri provided resource and advocated for collaborative funding for initiatives, particularly in the psychosocial area, that caters to the needs of whānau Māori.