Gisborne District Mayor Rehette Stoltz and Tairāwhiti Police Area Commander Sam Aberahama have rallied together to thank their community for the overwhelming support and collective effort they are putting into getting the people of Tairāwhiti through the devastation left behind by Cyclone Gabrielle.
As Tairāwhiti residents continue the huge clean up and recovery work, Mayor Stoltz and Inspector Aberahama are calling on those outside the region to stop spreading negative and unhelpful misinformation online.
“Our beautiful community is doing an amazing job of showing resilience, compassion and manaakitanga. People here are helping each other, we are seeing the best of humanity in our community, and we are determined to rebuild better and stronger.
“We want to reassure our community that we have their back, and put on the record what is actually occurring on the ground.”
Inspector Aberahama said staff in Tairāwhiti had been busy with continued recovery efforts, locating uncontactable people, and supporting the community in its clean up and recovery.
“We have extra staff on the ground who are very visible and making every effort to ensure people are safe and feel safe.
“We have seen some instances of people who have exploited this disaster to commit dishonesty offences. This is disgusting behaviour and we have zero tolerance for it. Our patrols and staff on the ground are ensuring that our community is not seeing a marked increase in criminal activity.
“But the facts are that we have had fewer reports of dishonesty offences than in the weeks before this disaster – from seven per day prior to 14 February down to four per day over the past 10 days.
“What we don’t need are the false and mischievous speculation and stories that crime is rampant and there is lawlessness everywhere. It does nothing but make people who have been through so much, feel much worse.”
Mayor Stoltz says: “People can help through donations to the recovery efforts, and they can help by not spreading untrue comments which are needlessly adding to people’s already very high stress levels.”
Issued by Police Media Centre