Council Reflects One Year On
At two minutes past midnight on 14 November 2016, the Hurunui District was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and a sequence of smaller tremors. The first anniversary of the event provides an opportunity to reflect on its impact, but more importantly to focus on the opportunities presented to us through our district’s recovery.
The November earthquake damaged community infrastructure and property throughout townships, all critical for a fully functioning community. Residents in the Hurunui District have experienced significant disruption to their daily lives, with some having to bear less than ideal living conditions because of ongoing insurance claims.
Mayor Winton Dalley says the Hurunui’s people have shown what a strong and caring rural community we have, by continuing on as normal post-earthquake and off the back of nearly three years of the toughest droughts on record.
“While disasters are a normal part of life, every event is unique. A successful response to such an event requires intimate local knowledge and sensible decision making.
“I am filled with pride at the way our communities have responded and taken care of each other over the last three challenging years, particularly during the last 12 months. While I acknowledge that some of our people are still dealing with severe challenges and stress from both events, the overall spirit and morale of our district is amazingly high,” he says.
A highlight of the recovery has been the multitude of events organised by the council and individual communities with the aim of bringing the district together post-earthquake.
Mayor Dalley says these events have been an important part of progressing not only the earthquake recovery in terms of property but also the social recovery of the district.
“Notable examples of this were the Rebuild Hurunui event, where affected residents were able to receive free repair and rebuild advice from a range of service providers, and the Lets Connect event series, where attendees were able to speak directly with relevant community groups and businesses.”
These events have provided a space for residents to share any earthquake-related issues they may be having with each other and the support they have gained from this has been valuable. The council is proud to have been a part of these events that have brought the Hurunui’s social recovery positive results.
Mayor Dalley says the district has also received a considerable amount of support from outside the district which has come in the form of funding and tangible items such as food parcels for those in need.
“I would like to take this opportunity to once again express our gratitude for all the assistance we have had, and continue to receive from all over the country. We do live in an amazingly generous and caring country, and for that we are so grateful,” he says.
The council will continue its pledge to walk alongside those in our community experiencing grief and loss, and those who need a helping hand and advocacy for their personal situation. We have in place a number of initiatives and people to deliver this promise and to work alongside existing permanent community networks.
Mayor Dalley says travelling through the Hurunui day-in day-out, it is clear to see the strength, resilience, and determination of our communities as they have dealt with loss of income and less than ideal living conditions, while still continuing to operate their farms and businesses.
“It’s now encouraging to see that more and more insurance claims are being settled each week and the fact the council is processing a record amount building consents at one time is another positive sign. While there is still a lot of work to do, we have come a very long way as a district since the events of November last year,” he says.