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New Zealand Red Cross - Supporting Communities

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New Zealand Red Cross/Rīpeka Whero Aotearoa provides a wide range of services in Aotearoa and overseas. They have played an important part helping communities through the November 2016 Earthquake.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian group in the world. There are around 97 million volunteers, members, and staff worldwide. Red Cross is a support organisation to governments in 191 countries.

New Zealand Red Cross/Rīpeka Whero Aotearoa

New Zealand Red Cross/Rīpeka Whero Aotearoa started in 1915. Today, New Zealand Red Cross provides a wide range of services to communities throughout Aotearoa. They also help communities in the Pacific islands and further abroad. They help people prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.

In New Zealand there are more than 15,000 Red Cross people who do good in their communities. Many of these people are volunteers. Every day in New Zealand, Red Cross delivers a range of community services including:

  • support services to recently arrived refugees
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Community Transport
  • first aid courses
  • emergency management operations.

New Zealand Red Cross has made youth a priority. They are supporting the next generation of young humanitarians in and out of schools. New Zealand Red Cross youth programmes include:

  • Kia Pakari/Schools Resilience Programme
  • Rise Up
  • Bounce
  • Youth in Emergency Services
  • Youth in Emergency Preparedness Programme
  • Refugee Youth Workers
  • People Savers
  • Save a Mate Programme.

New Zealand Red Cross also sends aid workers overseas where help is needed. 

Red Cross is active in the Hurunui, Kaikōura and Marlborough regions. After the November 2016 earthquake, money was raised to give extra support to these communities:

  • immediately after the event
  • for longer-term recovery
  • to help them prepare for any emergencies in the future.

Responding During the Emergency

Immediately after the November 2016 earthquake, New Zealand Red Cross were there to help. They operated a Civil Defence centre in Blenheim and supported Civil Defence in Kaikōura. New Zealand Red Cross supported affected communities, delivered food parcels, and gave hope.

The team used defence force helicopters to bring in:

  • emergency generators
  • satellite communications
  • portaloos
  • an inflatable air shelter welfare tent and lighting kit
  • water bladders and tap stands.

Food parcels were put together with supplies from the defence force. Each parcel included water and essential food items - including 'feel-good' items like lollies. 

New Zealand Red Cross volunteer teams also went door-to-door, checking on residents and letting them know they were not on their own. They supported people struggling with the quake's impact and people who had been told they couldn't stay in their homes.

Three months later, New Zealand Red Cross volunteers had given more than 9,500 hours of service. They had delivered 250 parcels of food and visited 2600 homes. They also put hand-washing stations in Kaikōura.

Collaborating for Recovery

Since the emergency event, New Zealand Red Cross has collaborated with residents in all three districts to support community care, community connection and preparedness for other emergency events.

Examples of the programmes it has delivered are:

  • Home heating and insulation to families in need during winter.
  • Damaged Home Grants to help those with red or yellow stickered homes, or who had to evacuate their homes.
  • Care packs to those most needing help, including warm clothing and bedding.
  • Recovery Matters discussions with residents and community groups. These help people understand how they can see signs of stress and how to top up their wellbeing after an emergency event.
  • School Children’s Grants. These help schools deliver wellbeing activities for students affected by the earthquake. Examples of these were school camps, sports events, leadership programmes, celebrations, kapa haka uniforms and other cultural and social events, careers trips and expos.
  • Community events and drop-in centres to help people connect and support each other.
  • Organising expert speakers to talk with the communities about recovery and how they can care for themselves and each other.
  • Running Psychological First Aid (PFA) courses for groups so they can help others after an emergency event.

Audio Māori keywords: 

Supercharge Your Wellbeing

November 2016 Earthquake


The New Zealand Red Cross team used defence force helicopters to bring in emergency supplies to areas left inaccessible after the earthquake. Image: New Zealand Red Cross.

Getting fresh water into areas where local supplies were damaged by the earthquake was an important part of the first response. Image: New Zealand Red Cross.

New Zealand Red Cross have delivered 570 care packs since the November 2016 earthquake. I wonder what the packs may have contained. Image: New Zealand Red Cross.

351 Damaged Home Grants have been given to assist those with red or yellow stickered homes, or who were required to evacuate their homes for 7 days or longer, following the quake. Image: New Zealand Red Cross.

Recovery Matters sessions are discussions and workshops which help people deal with the emotional and social effects of a natural disaster. Image: New Zealand Red Cross.

This infographic shows how New Zealand Red Cross has helped communities since ethe earthquake. Do you know anyone who has been helped by New Zealand Red Cross as a result of this earthquake or other emergencies? Image: New Zealand red Cross.