Uawa rally around flood-affected whānau

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Ten days on since the Queen's Birthday weekend floods that devastated Tolaga Bay, the Mitchell family are still picking up the pieces of the place they called home for the last five years. 

Taylah Mitchell and her family of six, including grandparents, have been trying to salvage anything they can.

"We weren't able to take much away, mainly just clothes, yeah, that was pretty much it," she says.

The family has moved out of the five-bedroom home into a three room rental for now.

"It's impacted us hugely, we lost everything to the flood; all our personal belongings and stuff, all our memorabilia, all kids photos and portfolios, it's affected us hard.  Everything is replaceable so we're grateful mainly that there were no lives lost," says father, Shaun Mitchell.

The Uawa community has rallied around the 15 or so families needing help one way or another.

"There's lots of kai being distributed, there's people cooking kai at their homes and taking it out and a whole lot of normal people getting out and seeing if people are ok and offering a hug if a hug is needed," says Kelly Blackman, Uawa welfare coordinator.

"Without their help, it would be near impossible and probably we would've walked away from it but the help and support- it's still happening today, a week later- we're doing a bit of clean up 10 days later," says Shaun.