New approach for disaster relief fund in Horizons Region

Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence Emergency Management (MWCDEM) have teamed up with Te Awa Community Foundation to support and manage a regional disaster relief fund, in an approach that’s the first of its kind in the country.

The fund will offer a community-led, locally-operated and accountable way for people to donate to communities affected by natural disasters in the Horizons Region.
Horizons manager emergency management Ian Lowe says Horizons is proud to be leading this approach alongside Te Awa Community Foundation.
“We’re grateful to the Foundation for teaming up with us to manage this fund, and we hope it can provide some reassurance to our communities that the money they generously donate during an emergency goes to a trusted source.
“The fund is designed to be activated when an emergency strikes – similar to local mayoral relief funds, but available to the whole region. It will also only be allocated within the region, so people who donate know they are supporting those impacted locally.
“Whilst the Foundation will be managing the collection and receipting of funds, the distribution will remain with the relief funds’ trustees, which are the chair of the regional council and the regions’ seven mayors,” he says.
Te Awa Community Foundation co-general manager Kate Aplin says the Foundation identified a need for this kind of local coordination following weather events across the country over the last few years, and seeing the needs of communities first hand.
“This development of this process has been 18 months in the making, and witnessing the effects of the more recent Cyclone Gabrielle gave us the final push to get this off the ground. We’re excited to finally launch the fund alongside the MWCDEM Group and Horizons, with resounding support from all city and district council mayors and chairs in the region.”
Co-general manager Catherine Rikihana hopes the relief fund will make it easier for those genuinely wishing to help people impacted by a disaster in a meaningful way.
“We hope that this fund will encourage people to donate money rather than used goods, hopefully resulting in less wastage of donated items by well-intended members of the public. It should also reduce the amount of volunteer time needed to sort material donations, and allow more time to focus on vital response efforts.
“Giving funds so that directly-impacted communities may get items they need is more useful and efficient for them than relying on public donations of goods which are inconsistent or often miss the mark,” says Ms Rikihana.
“Those wishing to contribute to the fund can make their donation public or anonymous, and can choose to receive a receipt for tax purposes if they wish. When you donate, you’ll be able to select from a few set donation amounts or choose a custom amount, and even personalise your donation with a message.”
“Te Awa Community Foundation are not taking any administrative fees for this initiative, therefore those who donate can be assured that 100% of their donation will go to response and recovery for that event,” she says.
To find out more about Te Awa Community Foundation and donate to the funds they support, visit