Monday, 27 February 2023 - 1:33pm

Kindness is key

3 min read

News article photos (3 items)

Sergeants Sean Burn (left) and Jon-Paul Tremain at Bay Baptist Church with volunteers.
Senior Constable Pehitane Potaka and Sergeant Ding Capunitan at the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple with volunteers.
Volunteers and Sergeant Sean Burn clearing rubbish at King House Church, Maraenui.

​Across Eastern District, our communities are coming together after Cyclone Gabrielle to look out for and after one another. Here are some of the many acts of kindness from the public.

Eastern District Commander Superintendent Jeanette Park says the outpouring of support from all our communities across Eastern and the whole country is heartening to see.

“Every day I feel privileged to witness the kindness and partnership from our public,” says Jeanette. “It’s really awesome to see that the roots of care and generosity run deep in our communities.

“On behalf of New Zealand Police, I want to thank everyone who has and continues to offer support to our Eastern communities, along with our staff on the frontline and those working in stations.

“Your resilience and community spirit are an inspiration. No matter the efforts, whether it be taking home baking to a neighbour in need, or cooking hundreds of meals to feed many mouths, please accept my heartfelt thanks."

Meals by the hundreds at Shri Guru Ravidass and Hastings Sikh Temples

  Pehitane (left) and Ding (right) at the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple with some freshly cooked meals.
Hawke’s Bay Senior Constable Pehitane Potaka (second from left) and Tāmaki Makaurau Sergeant Ding Capunitan (right) at the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple with some freshly cooked meals.
While on reassurance patrols, Hawke’s Bay Senior Constable Pehitane Potaka and Tāmaki Makaurau Sergeant Ding Capunitan visited Shri Guru Ravidass Temple, where members are making between 600-700 vegetarian meals a day to give to affected communities including Omahu and Waipatu.

Some of the cooked food is also being helicoptered to communities that have been cut off because of the cyclone. Approximately 40 people are hard at work making meals.

“They a have fantastic set-up and are well versed in cooking for large gatherings," says Pehitane. "I was at Omahu later in the day when some of the meals were delivered and it was great to see everyone enjoying them.

“Sergeant Capunitan and I also visited the Hastings Sikh Temple and discovered they have a similar awesome set-up. There were good vibes all around and people were pleased to be part of the bigger picture and contributing.

“The Sikh temple team are delivering 300 to 400 vegetarian meals a day.”

Waiohiki Marae

The team at Waiohiki Marae.
The team at Waiohiki Marae.

The near 200-strong team at Waiohiki Marae has been cooking up a storm for the community and volunteers.

As well as providing catering, they are also getting stuck in and cleaning up silt and debris.

Hawke’s Bay Sergeant Jon-Paul Tremain says: “The marae team are doing a brilliant job but have unfortunately had some challenges with power to cook the food, so RNZPC Sergeant Sean Burn and I brought out a BBQ so they could cook and heat food for whānau.”

Bay Baptist Church, Greenmeadows

The team at Bay Baptist Church have set up a food and clothing distribution centre and a team of 30-35 volunteers have been working tirelessly to sort and prepare donated clothing for people in need. They have a wide range of clothing for men, women and children, including blankets and mattresses.

Sergeants Jon-Paul Tremain and Sean Burn visited the church and provided kai koha and some baking for the volunteers, which was warmly received.

Sergeants Sean Burn (left) and Jon-Paul Tremain at Bay Baptist Church with volunteers. 
Sergeants Sean Burn (left) and Jon-Paul Tremain at Bay Baptist Church with volunteers.

King House Church, Maraenui

Along with volunteers, Jon-Paul and Sean aided the clean-up by helping remove a large trailer load of rubbish and unusable clothing from the church.

“It was an opportunity to take care of housekeeping for them so they could continue to focus on supporting the RSE workers that are currently staying at the church,” says Jon-Paul.

“We collectively removed about 20 bags of clothes, nine rubbish bags, two couch chairs and a boot full of cardboard and miscellaneous rubbish.

“The gesture was greatly appreciated by Mabel, our point of contact, who said that this would free up space at the church and allow the team to get on with the job of caring for the community.”

  Taking care of business at King House Church, Maraenui.
Taking care of business at King House Church, Maraenui.

Puketapu School Hall

Puketapu School Hall is the primary community distribution centre for supplies. The operation is well coordinated, a volunteer accountant is helping advise people on insurance claims preparation, and a psychologist and counsellors are on hand to help families.

“The team at Puketapu School have a fantastic set-up," says Sergeant Yvonne Tremain. "When Superintendent Park and I, along with other staff, visited them this week we were thoroughly impressed with their operation.”