Civil defence begins detailed work with iwi

28 May 2012, 05:00 PM

The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group has begun a new liaison programme with iwi to help local marae be better prepared to cope with emergencies.

Staff from the Group emergency management office, the Thames Valley emergency operations area and Waikato Regional Council met with Hauraki iwi recently on Tirohia Marae in Paeroa. Marae represented included Tirohia, Waihi and Manaia. This was preceeded by a meeting at Manaia Marae with other coastal marae in January this year.

The Paeroa meeting discussed the roles and responsibilities of civil defence and how marae and whanau can be better prepared for emergencies.

Marae representatives agreed they wanted civil defence to facilitate further workshops on how marae could improve preparedness for emergencies and build capacity to respond to them, said regional council kaiwhakarite Gannin Ormsby.

"The meeting was very productive in that it has laid the groundwork for the local civil defence and Hauraki iwi to cooperate closely together on better disaster preparedness and response," said Mr Ormsby.

"The idea is that civil defence will help build capacity by upskilling iwi representatives so that they can pass the message and skills on to their people."

Mr Ormsby said the meeting at Paeroa was a forerunner to further meetings planned between iwi and civil defence later in the year.

"We are also looking to do similar work with Ngati Maniapoto, Raukawa and Waikato-Tainui, and are in discussions with other iwi as well."

Alice Anderson, Project Manager of Marae Development portfolio at the Hauraki Maori Trust Board, said: "Whanau need to ensure that they have contingency plans in place for civil defence emergencies in the future. The civil defence presentation was informative and engagement between marae representatives and agencies was positive. Ongoing communication with agencies and civil defence planning are the next steps forward for whanau and marae."

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