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Update on Activities at Pipitea Marae Assiting Chch Evacuees

To assist the emergency evacuation of people from Christchurch

24 February 2011

Pipitea Marae answered the call for assistance from Wellington City Council as they play their part in the coordinated emergency evacuation plan for Christchurch.

The marae last night hosted approximately 100 displaced tourists. Support at the marae was from Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngati Poneke, Wellington City Council, National Te Kohanga Reo Trust, Salvation Army and others who turned up to help.

Aroha Thorpe, Pipitea Marae Trustee said “While this is only a small part of a bigger plan, it is heartening that the community is pulling together in a time of national crisis. The support the marae is getting is phenomenal.

“The true Kiwi spirit is shining through! We also appreciate the cooperation of Te Ohu Kaimoana in having their AGM relocated to Te Raukura (Wharewaka) to ensure Pipitea remains available as one of the evacuation centres. Our focus is on supporting the people being relocated from Christchurch.

Around 80 people were accommodated, fed and supported overnight. Many arrived at the marae with essentially the clothes they were in. They have lost everything, clothing, passports, wallets, etc, she said.”

Mrs Thorpe said that their organisation and Council staff stayed overnight at the marae with the displaced tourists”.

Examples of help include:

1. National Te Kohanga Reo Trust have cooked and delivered fresh and fried bread. Staff have remained at the marae to awhi (support) and help.

2. Salvation Army provided blankets last night. They followed up this morning with clothing.

3. Nga Rauru (one of the iwi of Taranaki whanui) will deliver fresh fish and other kaimoana tomorrow.

4. A “Maori network” established by Te Taura Whiri (The Maori Language Commission) yesterday is getting messages out for help – both for Pipitea and also to send much needed essentials to Christchurch later today

5. Office of Treaty Settlements have stepped up to assist both in people support and to source any other assistance that is needed.

6. Ministry of Justice have offered to provide translators, if they are required to ensure those arriving can get their messages across.

7. New World / Pak’n’Save have offered food, toiletries and other supplies.

“The need today is for “people power” to awhi those who are arriving at Pipitea. There are 12 flights expected into Wellington today and while not all will come to the marae, we are expecting the marae to be full. People arriving are understandably distressed. We need to give them whatever support we are able”, said Mrs Thorpe.


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