25 May 2024: Woolworths New Zealand is passing on $250,000 in customer donations to support the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay.

The customer funds will go to:

  • Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust - $100,000

  • Tairāwhiti Mayoral Relief Fund - $50,000

  • Rural Support Trust - $50,000

  • Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa re-fencing and recovery fund - $50,000

The funds were donated to the Countdown Food for Good Trust by customers over the past year, including funds donated specifically for cyclone and weather event relief.

“Our customers are incredibly generous and we are merely passing on these funds to these good causes. We know that the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle continues to be devastating for those affected, and the need for help will continue for years. We are so grateful to our customers for providing these funds and we are very happy they can help with the ongoing recovery,” said Spencer Sonn, Woolworths NZ Managing Director.

“Thank you for remembering our community in Tairāwhiti, especially since it’s been 16 months since Cyclone Gabrielle. This donation to the Mayoral Relief Fund will be distributed to community-led initiatives that support wellbeing, connection, upskilling and resilience across our region. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts," said Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz.

The Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust, represented by the region’s Mayors and the Trust Chair, said “we are thrilled for the support from Woolworths’ customers and this $100,000 donation. Cyclone Gabrielle was over 15 months ago with far reaching damage across our rohe. Our most impacted communities are enduring a long road to recovery with some still living in temporary accommodation.”

For the Rural Support Trust, Community Connector Mike Green said “this generous donation will allow the Trust to continue to work closely alongside rural communities impacted by adverse events. Huge thanks to Woolworths and its customers.”

“Gisborne/Wairoa Federated farmers are incredibly grateful for the support from Woolworths. These customer donations will help farmers to rebuild their fences. They won’t rebuild everything that was lost but this will go some way to easing the burden that sheep and beef farmers are feeling right now,” said Toby Williams, Federated Farmers Meat & Wool Chairperson.

The latest customer donations follow the $250,000+ given by Woolworths customers immediately following Cyclone Gabrielle and the January 2023 flooding in Auckland. In addition to customer donations, in early 2023 Woolworths NZ donated $450,000 in food and funds to help charities and organisations providing on-the-ground assistance and support to the most impacted communities. Woolworths provided disaster relief support for its growers after Gabrielle hit, including $700,000 in cash grants.

Woolworths is also sponsoring the Parekura Horomia Memorial “Federated Farmers vs. Parliament” event on Saturday 25 May in Gisborne. The Parliamentary rugby and netball teams will play Gisborne locals at the historic Ngatapa Sports Club in a fundraising event. Money raised will be used to buy fence posts and wire for farmers in the region.

The sponsorship means attendance at the event and post-match function is free.

“Being able to invite the volunteers and cyclone affected farmers to the sports day and post-match function with no cost to them is amazing! It enables us to say a big thanks to all those involved while also contributing to the recovery”, said Federated Farmers’ Toby Williams who is organiser of the Gisborne event.

“We’re thrilled that our sponsorship of this event means that entry to the event is free and so is the after match function. It should be a great day - and we hope it’s an injury-free one!” said Spencer Sonn.

Photo credit: maeveomalleyphotography.com