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Much To Learn From Tairāwhiti TEMO

Sharing information and resources is at the heart of all Tairāwhiti Emergency Management Office (TEMO) do.

This time it’s with a group from Lower Hutt.

“Their region shares a similar hazard as Tairāwhiti with the whole population living in a flood plain although they haven’t had an activated emergency since 2004,” says TEMO general manager Ben Green.

“Our lessons learned are experiential. We activate, review and quickly reconfigure the bits we need to improve.

“Hutt City reviews reports from others however they have good plans but have more than 100,000 people living within the flood plain.”

The visitors from Hutt City and Wellington wanted to visit an operational group that’s activated many times to look at the aspects relevant to them and find out what they can tap into by engaging directly.

‘We are all about sharing intel like this. There is much to like about leveraging operational responses from regions that are well practiced in activating for the hazards we are dealing with . . . and they will only become more frequent.”

The delegation was hosted at the Tairāwhiti Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) by Mr Green, Mayor Rehette Stoltz and Gisborne District Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann.

The delegation from Lower Hutt included Mayor Campbell Barry, Wellington Region Emergency Management manager Jeremy Holmes, Hutt City Council’s director of neighbourhoods and communities Angela Blackshaw, Emergency Management officer Anthony Robinson, and local controller Barry vyn Hoek.

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A round-table chambers discussion provided the background and context to how Tairāwhiti activated in an emergency and included an operational overview of systems and procedures at the TEMO HQ.

“Tairāwhiti is quite unique with 42 communities across out 52,000 population,” says Mr Green.

“We have a different approach as to how we support our impacted families by giving people the tools to support themselves. Welfare is often misunderstood. It is good to raise awareness around how you make welfare responsive and how it is such a vital element of what forms response and recovery.”

It also called for ongoing input to nurture and maintain what is often a complex group in terms of regional partnerships.

“We have a system and are teaching our community how to use it. We have a good method for collecting data which is a critical reporting tool for welfare – that covers off what has actually happened, not what we think has happened.”

A key component was the “good relationships” Tairāwhiti TEMO had with its stakeholders, partners and iwi.

“They certainly had a lot of takeaways for them and things they are looking to imbed on the back of their visit.”

The visit came on the back of Mayor Rehette Stoltz hosting 60 Mayors and Chief Executives from Zone 3 – the bulk of the North Island – where they too visited the ECC to understand activations.

“We are being approached by a number of other regions keen to understand emergency management and our operational systems,” says Mr Green.

“We are in constant pursuit of improvement given the operational tempo we have had so that is where we have been asked to share with others so they can review their own systems.”

Mr Green’s small team were often invited to other regions to give presentations too.

“We’re often asked to share our experiences and knowledge gained from the number of events we have dealt with given there are many groups who have not activated for events for some time.”

They will be hosting Opotiki Council soon and Mr Green was invited to speak to the Tauranga City Council emergency management group earlier this month.

© Scoop Media

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