Maori, Pacific, poor battling in Eastern Surburbs and not getting the help they need #eqnz #christchurch

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Although the whole of Christchurch has banded together to help assist whanau throughout the city distressed by the recent earthquake, deficits are beginning to emerge and it has been the poorest of Christchurch’s citizens who have been affected.

The Eastern Suburbs have been particularly hard hit with this rohe being without power, water and sewage and it is these areas which have the highest Maori, Pacific and poor communities. Liquefaction in particular has been a real problem making the ability to even dig a hole for long-drops impossible.

As a result Prime Minister John Key told a news conference yesterday that he will visit there and take a first hand look himself.

TangataWhenua.com has heard first hand accounts from whanau who live there and who have been working on the ground, who feel neglected, ignored and forsaken. They understand that there are serious issues around the city but wonder why the most basic of necessities are not being looked after and in particular why there has not been better coordination in terms of getting at the very least portaloos on the streets and made available to whanau many of whom have very young children.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee spent the early morning driving around and said that the number of portaloos in the streets as he drove “was thin, no question”. He added, “It’s a bit unfair to say they are being neglected,” he told NZPA.

Countless people have been txting National Radio saying, “our street has electricity, sewage and water and there are still portaloos outside, shouldn’t they being going to where people need them most”? In addition those areas where long-drops ARE possible to dig also have portaloos on each street corner and they too are wondering why they have been placed there, when others who have no way of making long-drops have nothing.

As a result these areas have been almost completely evacuated and we have also heard that when the Canterbury University’s Student Army have gone out they have been unable to find whanau to help as a result.

The comment was made on RadioNZ’s Afternoons with Jim Mora that “those who make the most noise are not those who necessarily need the most help” so while affluent suburbs get access to these key necessities, our whanau who need the most help, and have the least to survive on are getting left out as a result of what is clearly ineffective coordination of basic resources.

Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel and residents are angry that large parts of the community are still without power, water and the most basic forms of assistance and have asked officials for focused assistance as soon as possible.

In response Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga has sent out a press release saying “There is a need for a strong Maori presence in Civil Defence because this is the group that has the resources, from portaloos to food, so our people need to link up directly with that.”

After the last earthquake this was something that TangataWhenua.com strongly supported, unless Civil Defence has networks within Maori and Pacific communities, it is hard to see how these communities can be properly supported.

In response to the criticism, National Civil Defence controller John Hamilton said the eastern suburbs had not been forgotten and everything possible was being done to provide help. While he accepted many residents were without electricity, water or access to toilets, he said transport was also difficult because of damage to roads.

“At the same time we are also dealing with an unprecedented urban search and rescue operation in the central city,” he said.

TangataWhenua.com feels that this is a poor excuse, these families are very aware of the devastation in the central city and the unprecedented loss of life, they are simply asking for better coordination of provisions within their community, this shouldn’t have to impact on the rescue operation in any way.

Korero mai whanau…

11 COMMENTS

  1. Phil, you appear to be taking this in a very defensive way. I could paraphrase you and say that if a community is hurting and it isn't getting the basic things it needs, then that's all there is to it. Civil Defence should have a more appropriate response than shrugging and saying "well, some people always have to miss out". We all know the difficulties involved in getting power and water and sewerage back on. No one expects miracles. But there are portaloos in areas where the people have power, water and sewerage – often many portaloos in one street! Out East where the services are least and the situation is worst – zip, nada, nothing. Instead of bemoaning the fact that these people are not applauding the Civil Defence's stirling efforts to date, I suggest Phil should hear what they say and respond appropriately – with genuine help.

  2. I live in Brisbane my family lives in Aranui I am shocked that necessities such as portaloos are not available to an area that is so badly hit by the quake. My family have had to move to the other side of town to live at my sons home just so they can have power.

  3. i have been a digger for the SVA.

    (1) Yesterday i was full of energy ready to smash that silt littering our rohe.

    (2) We jumped on the bus ready to attack.

    (3) I was disheartened when our bus full of diggers drove past A Town to the more affluent area.

    (4) My heart sank as i saw this koro clearing his own driveway by himself.

    (5) I was sitting next to another, and he shared my sadness.

    (6) Im sorry koro that the bus didnt stop.

    (7) I dont know why the bus didnt stop, we went to a designated dig area only to find out F & H didnt let us in because of the machinary.

    (8) we ended up doing a big job, but then wasted alot of time looking for others to help.

    I couldnt do anything because i was just a digger, and there were alot of the bros in the digger squad too.

  4. Its true that CD have been doing a great job, but from what I've heard, including feedback from people working with CD (locals and internationals) is that it has been coordinated terribly.

    And there have been examples where the eastern suburbs were obviously neglected. In one instance contracted workers who were clearing roads of thick silt in Brighton area were relocated to do the same work in Fendalton, even though Fendalton was minor. Or port-a-loos being driven through Aranui to towards town, but not actually stopping in Aranui.

    I guess one positive outcome perhaps is further building community networks and cooperation. However, that is still a huge amount of unnecessary stress for all concerned.

  5. As I have first hand knowldege of assistance supplied and as I live in the Eastern Suburbs I know what the issues are.

    For you to point out it is one ethnic and income group is shocking. CD is doing a fantastic job under the curcumstances there had to be a focus to save people who were in iminient danger of dying.

    Next steps food and water was oranised as best possible based on available resourses we just dont have hundreds of tankers hanging around for thses events.

    The Portaloo issue and Chemical Toilets they were distributed as fast as possible based on the number actually availble and basically there wer not enough to go around and somebody will allways miss out regardless.

    With power est if the cable is broken it is broken they take time to fix that is all there is to it. If the water main is broken it is broken takes time to fix that is all there is to it. If there are not enough Portaloo there are not enough Portaloos.

    CD has been doing a good job and have there will always on all projects diasters bee the 10% the last one was Kaiapoi

    • Obviously not as we've just got this in: From the Aranui Welfare Centre: We need nappies, baby wipes, formula, canned food, toilet paper.

      Clearly everyone DOES NOT have what they need. Aue~!

  6. Everything possible is being doen to assit everybody and no particular group is being left out usles you are suggesting the water mains power lines are on purpose skipping specific people based on race and amount oif money they earn.

    To say they are being ignored ican be taken as offensive towards the large numbers of people trying help out in those areas like the Rangiora Express and Maori Wardens. SVA Salvation Army . In times like this we need to work as communities and work togeather and help each other out, not wait for somebody else to to do it forus.

    If we are talking about the Maori groups in the Burbs question what is thier tribal leaders doing? why have they not gone to thier Marae I know that Tainui has sent down supplies for the Marae's in Christchurch. Like wiae with Polynesian community Leaders and Elders.

    However we are all in the same boat here dosn't matter what race or culture you are and we all need to stand strong and help each other.

    • No if you read the last line you'll understand what is being asked is "for better coordination of provisions within their community, this shouldn’t have to impact on the rescue operation in any way"

      What we are saying is instead of sending portaloos to areas that have the ability to dig a hole, send them to the Eastern suburbs where not even a simple hole can be dug to make a toilet.

      Since the quake happened, TangataWhenua.com has continually detailed the broad tribal and non profit support that has been provided (roughly 20 stories about the assistance) including all the organisations you've outlined – check our archives and Facebook group and you'll see.

      Simply saying that "we must stand strong and help each other" doesn't diminish any of these issues… we are standing strong for those without the voice to ask for help. Mauri ora!

      But with that said it is Civil Defense's responsibility to ensure that this is properly coordinated. It's not for these communities most without power, water, sewage and transport to organise portaloos for goodness sake!

    • Looks like a Hurricane Katrina response. Leave the poorest eastern suburbs like Aranui who have been hard hit till last. Interesting the 'we are all in the same boat' comment. Some have gone to holiday homes at Wanaka and Queenstown, others have flown out but stranded Maori are told to go to their tribal marae. Not every hapu or iwi have a marae in Christchurch. So if they have lost everything I would expect that they are entitled to the support we've seen given out on the west side. Better coordination to at least put some Portaloos off the trucks passing through Aranui would have been something.

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