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Help For Niue From Manukau

Help For Niue From Manukau

The cyclone-battered Pacific island of Niue has been presented with a series of alternative rebuilding and recovery plans prepared by staff of Manukau City Council.

Three Council staff who are specialists in urban design - a landscape architect, a civil engineer and a town planner - spent a week on the island in May to as part of a package of assistance from Manukau, which has a large Niuean population. The Council also donated $15,000 and organised collections of useful goods such as tools and materials to help the rebuilding effort.

Last January tropical cyclone Heta hurled waves 200m inland on the western coast of the island, causing significant damage to infrastructure and the environment. One village was completely destroyed and four damaged. The waves removed all vegetation and the backwash dragged off topsoil back into the ocean, leaving a bleak and rocky wilderness. Two people died.

To help get the island back on its feet Premier Young Vivian and Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis agreed that a small team of Council staff experienced in town and environmental planning, design and construction, would prepare a series of options for restoring the devastated areas. The options are outlined in the report which has now been presented to the Niuean government and includes detailed large-scale landscaping plans.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the island is poor and there is a clear need for help in re-establishing the devastated area. "The island clearly needed a helping hand following the terrible cyclone. Council is delighted to be able to assist because we have strong links with the Niuean community in our city. In particular we are pleased to be able to use the skills of our staff because those skills aren't available among Niue's small population."

Sir Barry says although parts of the island look like a bomb-site it is good to see that green growth is emerging already, and even battered tree stumps are sprouting again. "But we do need a strategy to ensure the best outcome long-term, and that is what I believe we will achieve from this report."

Copies of the report are available from the Council. The three staff members who travelled to Niue and wrote the report are Shona Fisher, Chris Smith and Dick Bavelaar.

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