Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Anglicans plan Cyclone response

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has responded with prayer and planning in the wake of widespread devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Taonga News  |  17 Feb 2023  |

Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson has joined with the newly formed Anglican Cyclone Gabrielle Response Group 'Hāpaitia' in the following statement responding to the devastation caused by this week's massive rainstorm.

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Along with all of Aotearoa New Zealand we are shocked at the tragedy that is unfolding in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle. 

Never before have we seen a storm of this magnitude endanger and displace so many people across such large areas of Aotearoa.  

At this distressing time we pray for all those affected by the Cyclone and especially for grieving families who have lost loved ones in this storm. 

We pray for people working in or supporting emergency services, distributing essentials in areas isolated by flooding, broken roads or bridges and for those offering hospitality and support to people affected by the Cyclone.

We pray for all of our church whānau and the communities where they minister, particularly those that have lost homes or livelihoods, or who await news of people who have still not made contact. 

We give thanks for all those who have been saved from peril in this storm and for all who are helping to ensure people are staying healthy and safe right now.  

We call on our communities and church whānau to keep safe and follow the advice of people in emergency services and the agencies coordinating emergency response. 

As the storm passes we know that many in our churches, schools and families living in the hardest hit zones will be struggling to bear the weight of what has happened.

Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. You do not have to face this alone. 

As Paul says in his letter to the Romans, “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” You are a member of the body of Christ, and we are here for you. 

The Church recognises that our faith calls us to respond to human need through prayer and through action. 

Drawing on the strengths of our Church we have established a new group named Hāpaitia: The Anglican Cyclone Gabrielle Response Group. The title Hāpaitia means to lift up, to support, to share a burden. 

Hāpaitia will commit to whakamana* communities so that they in turn can uplift ‘Te Oranga Ake’ – that is, help rebuild flourishing whānau, communities and environments. 

Hāpaitia will focus on providing support in four key areas:

– Wairua (spiritual, pastoral and theological support)
– Tinana (care for physical and structural wellbeing)
– Pūtea (financial aid) and
– Kōrero (communications and storytelling)

This pledge stands not only for the following days and weeks, but throughout the journey to recovery. 

In a first step in practical support, the Anglican Church’s St John’s College Trustees confirmed today they will release $250,000 in emergency funds for immediate deployment on Cyclone Gabrielle response.

Anglican aid and development staff will help coordinate the Church’s financial and operational response to Cyclone Gabrielle as part of the wider Hāpaitia response. 

The Anglican Church has launched a Cyclone Gabrielle Emergency Appeal, hosted by Anglican Missions, to support communities most affected by this week’s disaster. 

Visit Anglican Missions to donate to the Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal. 
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God of all consolation,
grant to those who sorrow
the spirit of faith and courage,
that they may have the strength to meet the days to come
with steadfastness and patience;
not sorrowing without hope,
but trusting in your goodness;
through him who is the resurrection and the life,
Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Ko te Atua te tūmanako me te kaha o te hunga e whakapono ana ki a ia. Kia tau tonu iho ngā manaakitanga a te Atua ki a tatou inaianei me te āhuru o tona atawhai hei hāpai hei tautoko i a tātou, a ake tonu atu. Āmine.


 *Whakamana: to acknowledge, uplift, maintain and restore the mana and tapu of others.