Over the past eight years Rātā Foundation regions have experienced more than their fair share of natural disasters and major events. These have ranged from the major Canterbury earthquake sequence, followed by the Marlborough and Kaikoura earthquakes, cyclones and fires in the Tasman region and latterly the tragic events of March 15 in Christchurch. Each of these events has required a unique response.
Following the Christchurch earthquakes, given the unprecedented scale of the event, the Foundation responded by releasing a $25m fund to assist immediate needs, rebuild community cohesion, support community events, address housing needs and stimulate social enterprise activity.
In other events we have supported mayoral funds to meet immediate needs while determining a medium and long term response informed by community needs.
In all cases what has been important has been to reach out to affected communities and connect with other funders and sectors to understand needs, coordinate activity and respond effectively.
The relationships developed in response to one disaster have supported responses to the next.
In Canterbury the strong collaborative relationships which have been in place post-earthquakes with local and central government, Iwi, the Not for profit sector and the community, have established groups and networks that can be deployed in future events.
When the March 15 tragedy occurred, Rātā Foundation in partnership with the Christchurch City Council and Ngai Tahu quickly provided funding to support the community hub within days of the event.
We were also quickly able to bring together the Funding Leaders Across Government Group to coordinate activity. We worked together to identify the most appropriate funding sources for not for profit services supporting those affected.