Cyclone Gabrielle: Funding Update

Written by Chloe Smart 

It has been a tough start to the year for the North Island, with rural communities and primary industries hit hard by the extreme weather events. At the time of writing, the Government has invested $890 million into repair works, silt clean-up, help for growers and farmers, business support, and getting schools, bridges, and roads back open. But there’s still more to do.

On 14 May 2023, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) announced additional funding to support well-being, health and safety, and animal welfare following Cyclone Gabrielle. In addition to the initial funding announced in February this year, a further $45.55 million has been made available to support the recovery of rural communities on the North Island affected by recent weather events including Cyclone Gabrielle.

This funding package will be available to all primary industries, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and horticulture, and consists of:

  • $5.4 million to support the well-being of rural communities isolated by recent weather events,
  • $10.15 million to assist with the clean-up of woody debris in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti, and
  • $30 million for rural businesses and communities to bolster health and safety and protect animal welfare.

MPI announced that the funding will be distributed to industry partners, community and iwi groups, and other providers who will engage directly with the impacted communities to identify areas of need. Grants under this funding package will be allocated through an “expression of interest” process, which MPI anticipates rolling out in June 2023.

Government have recently announced their Budget 2023 Flood and Cyclone Recovery Package, which aims to create resilience against extreme weather events in the future. This $100 million fund will go towards practical flood protection infrastructure like stop-banks as well as other region-specific measures to protect local communities from flooding.

The Government will work directly with impacted Councils across the affected areas of the North Island to tailor interventions for regions to address their own specific vulnerability to future flooding. The main focuses of this Recovery Package are:

  • Repairing and rebuilding all weather-hit schools,
  • Investing in roads and rail to ease pressure on Councils,
  • More mental health support, including in schools, continuing as demand evolves over the next 6-12 months,
  • Investing in flood protection to prevent future flooding, and
  • Supporting businesses and workers through schemes to keep workers in jobs, assist with retraining, and create and maintain industry partnerships.

This $100 million is in addition to the usual support the Government provides to Councils to repair and rebuild following a disaster, such as covering 60% of the costs of damaged essential infrastructure owned by Councils. The Government advises they will continue to build even greater resilience across the North Island to provide better protection for local communities and economies.

There is also funding geared towards individuals in extenuating circumstances affected by Cyclone Gabrielle which are available through a number of local providers:

  • Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Fund – up to $10,000 for individuals and for community groups and marae
  • Tairāwhiti Mayoral Relief Fund – a one-off grant provides for damage or hardship incurred as a result of the cyclone (
  • Wairoa Disaster Relief Fund – support up to a maximum of $1,000 per household or $2,000 for organisations, marae and community groups (
  • Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Fund – support up to a maximum of $1,000 per household or $2,000 for organisations, marae and community groups (


UPDATEJULY 2023: Expressions of interest are now being taken and should be submitted as soon as possible by emailing your completed form to [email protected]. You can find an electronic copy of the form here. Alternatively, pop into the office and see us for a printed copy.