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Cam Bishop, left, and Arianna Ashworth with some of the donated items. Photo: SUPPLIED

Donations made for flood victims

Flood-affected Hawke’s Bay residents were “overwhelmed” by donations they received from an unfamiliar location.
Waitakaruru resident Arianna Ashworth and her work mate Cam Bishop delivered items donated by Thames Valley residents to Hawke’s Bay on February 18.
Arianna said she and Cam donated the items to the Environment Centre Hawke’s Bay donation hub in Hastings, the Hastings Racecourse, which was holding animals rescued from the floods, and the community in Whakatu outside of Hastings.
“They were overwhelmed with how far we had travelled to get there… a lot of them didn’t know where Ngātea was so we had to explain where it was but they really felt the love,” she said.
“It was getting pretty desperate for the Whakatu community, they were a lower socio-economic community already struggling and then they had the battle of no power and no resources to support themselves.
“When we pulled into the cul-de-sac where we dropped a delivery off, the locals came out of their houses, it was like we got swarmed and the donations were probably gone within ten minutes.”
Arianna told The Profile she launched the donation project since she had previously lived in Hawke’s Bay and “like most New Zealanders” was “heartbroken” by what had happened there.
“Seeing it first hand, my worst fear is that a lot of those people who are still unaccounted for are no longer with us, and for the rural community… the results are that they’re going to be out of business and financially impacted for years to come,” she said.
“Whilst the orchard owners are trying to orchestrate the recovery of their own properties, it amounts to a huge amount of stress but… visiting some of the more seriously impacted communities, there were so many hands on deck.
“There’s massive piles of debris that are being cleared from houses but everyone’s just put their boots on and their gloves on and they’ve really got stuck in… and that was very nice to see.”

Arianna said more than 30 Thames Valley residents donated on February 17 with the likes of clothes, linen, petfood, and non-perishable food.
“We had two SUVs [sports utility vehicles] full and a 10ft by 5ft trailer, so that gives you an idea of the quantity,” she said.
“[The donors] were heartbroken for Hawke’s Bay, they were a New Zealander just wanting to help. In particular, I think Ngātea and surrounds is largely a rural community so from one rural community to the next, that would be the main reason.
“[I received] lots of praise for me and Cam… lots of people were saying thank you for allowing us to get stuff down there and just really appreciative they did have the opportunity to help.”
Arianna said she and Cam hoped the donated items would reach those who are most desperate.
“I imagine in places like Wairoa and some of those other lower-socio economic communities that don’t have insurance… they would need to completely rebuild their lives solely by donations or help from groups or the government,” she said.
“I hope our donations of those staple items like clothes and blankets will find its way to them.”
Meanwhile, a Waihī and Paeroa donation drive for Hawke’s Bay flood victims also took place on February 20 and 21.
A delivery of the donated non-perishable foods, bottled water, camping stoves, nappies and formula was planned for February 22.