Extreme weather events are happening more often, both here in New Zealand and around the world. They remind us how vulnerable we are and the need to proactively prepare now for when the worst happens.

When disaster hits, working together as a community is essential. That’s why the Taranaki Foundation, alongside the Taranaki Regional Council, South Taranaki District Council, New Plymouth District Council and Stratford District Council, is proud to announce the launch of the Taranaki Regional Disaster Relief Fund.

In 2023, a series of extreme weather events made headlines worldwide. From Cyclone Freddy in March, which was one of the longest-lived tropical cyclones ever recorded and claimed at least 400 lives in Malawi and Mozambique, to the devastating Alberta wildfires in May, impacting air quality around the world. July saw the four hottest days on record globally and in August, Maui experienced a wildfire claiming over 110 lives. Meanwhile, New Zealand faced the Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle in February, resulting in 11 fatalities and extensive damage to homes. These events highlight the need for preparedness and collaboration in the face of increasing environmental challenges.

A recent report by Philanthrophy New Zealand emphasises the importance of early preparation and funding to support communities in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters. It highlights the need for a flexible approach to grantmaking during disasters as well as the need to hold strong community relationships due to the unpredictable and evolving nature of such events.

The Taranaki Regional Disaster Relief Fund is set up to do just that, providing a single point of contact for donations as well as local coordination to ensure efficient allocation to those most in need.

Phil Hinton, Chair of Taranaki Foundation, explained, “This fund offers a community-driven, locally-managed and secure way to donate. It is designed to be activated swiftly when an emergency strikes – similar to local mayoral relief funds, but available to the whole region.  While the Foundation will manage the collection and receipting of funds, decisions about where the money goes are made by the Taranaki Council Group, which includes the regional council chair, Taranaki Foundation chair and the three mayors of the region.”

Photo Caption:

Photo taken at the launch of the Taranaki Regional Disaster Relief Fund during the Mayoral Forum meeting at the Stratford District Council on Thursday 6 June 2024.
Pictured: (Standing) Niel Volzke, Mayor of Stratford District Council. Phil Nixon, Mayor of South Taranaki District Council, Neil Holdom, Mayor of New Plymouth District Council. (Seated) Charlotte Littlewood, Chair of Taranaki Regional Council, Phil Hinton Chair of Taranaki Foundation