It’s often up to the community to look after its people when disaster strikes.
After the recent Edgecumbe floods, the Ngati Awa Voluntary Army (NAVA) have been nothing short of heroic in their efforts to support whanau to get back on their feet. At the helm is Wini Hahipene-Geddes, whose help in running, facilitating and co-ordinating relief efforts hasn’t gone unnoticed.
NAVA was established as an Iwi response to the Edgecumbe clean-up in collaboration with Civil Defence, BOP Regional Council and Whakatane District Council. With no-one there to run this, Wini took it on herself to lead the organisation, taking charge as NAVA moved into relief mode to support individual whanau get their lives back – when a response was needed, she acted.
Volunteers have helped remove silt and flood damaged items from public land, and private properties, helping people clean up their homes and restore their lives. We want to thank Wini and the volunteer army for all their work.
We’ve given Wini a $5000 travel voucher so she can take some time off to relax with her husband and go on a cruise. We also wanted to thank the NAVA volunteers for their service, and hired Whakamax, the Whakatane cinema complex for the day to hold free screenings of all the latest movies. We think they all deserve recognition for their efforts, and a small treat!