Whakatāne community opens arms to those affected by eruption

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Whakatāne community is rallying around to support all those involved. Whakatāne District Mayor Judy Turner says the council is working with Ngāti Awa and others to support those in need.

Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa has also opened Te Mānuka Tutahi Marae and people are welcome to come and share and support one another.

Whakatāne District Mayor Judy Turner says her heart goes out to the injured, the missing and deceased, and their families. 

“Our focus is on supporting whānau and our broader community and visitors. We are working with Ngāti Awa and others to support those most in need.  

“We have been advised that the situation on Whakaari / White Island remains extremely volatile.  There have been three eruptions and there is unpredictable ongoing volcanic activity.  The current risk of ashfall reaching the East Coast is low to very low.  GNS is continuing to monitor the situation, but at this stage, the elevated risk level is contained to Whakaari / White Island.”

“We wish to thank the huge outpouring of support from all our neighbouring councils, including the in-person support of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, community groups, including Iwi, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and many others.

“Police are leading the search and rescue operation and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is leading the overall disaster response,” says Mayor Turner. 

A five-mile air exclusion zone is in operation around the Island, together with a five nautical mile maritime exclusion zone.

The Whakatāne community is rallying around to support all those involved:

Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa has opened Te Mānuka Tutahi Marae and people are welcome to come and share and support one another

An Open Facebook group has been established at facebook.com/WhakataneDistrictCouncil as well.