More than 1190 people have registered with the Ngāti Awa Volunteer Army since it was initiated on Monday 10th April. Ngāti Awa and both the Whakatāne District and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils have been coordinating these volunteer efforts and already hundreds of homes have benefited from this mahi.
Pim de Monchy, who usually fills the role of Kaituna Catchments Manager at the Regional Council, is helping to coordinate these volunteer efforts with Ngāti Awa.
“The number of people who have rolled up their sleeves for Edgecumbe is truly mind blowing. They have come from all over New Zealand and as far as Germany and the Czech Republic. Already more than 5,500 hours have been contributed. It can be quite physical so we are immensely grateful for their energy,“ he says.
“Although there is still a lot of work to be done in Edgecumbe the bulk of the work the volunteer army can help with is now winding up. For that reason we will be closing off the online registration page at 2pm tomorrow (Friday). We ask that any residents who would still like the volunteer army’s help to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 027 562 2230,“ he says.
There will be no Ngāti Awa Volunteer Army organised clean-ups over the weekend. This is to give locals coordinators a break and a chance to help their own families with their clean-up. Residents and their families can still collect safety gear for clean ups from the Edgecumbe hall free of charge until 4:30pm on Tuesday 25 April.