Council ‘adoption’ gets red carpet treatment

Published on 16 March 2023


Waitaki District Council is encouraging its councillors to take to the stage with a variety show fundraiser created especially for the Far North.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher was quick to jump on board the Adopt a Community initiative to help councils affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, opting to adopt the Far North District.

Mayor Kircher, councillors, council staff and supporters are rolling out the red carpet for a night of family entertainment hosted by magician, Jonathan Usher, and featuring local performing artists and groups of contemporary and classical singers and dancers. The variety show will be held at the Ōamaru Opera House on Sunday 2 April, with tickets priced at $15 for adults and $5 for children.

The nationwide Adopt a Community initiative was launched by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) soon after Cyclone Gabrielle hit the country in February. It connected councils impacted by the cyclone with those unaffected by the event. The aim is to encourage community to community support.

Tasman Mayor Tim King, Waipā Mayor Susan O’Regan, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan and Mayor Kircher, all chose to adopt the Far North, something Far North Kahika (Mayor) Moko Tepania described as “humbling”.

Since pledging their help, the four councils have created inventive ways to drive donations to the Cyclone Gabrielle Mayoral Relief Fund established by Kahika Tepania. As well as promoting details of how to donate to the fund through local newspapers and on social media channels, the councils have deployed a range of fundraising tactics. Tying fundraising to existing events is a popular option with collection buckets making an appearance at A&P shows, festival days and at council offices. Participating councils have also organised cyclone relief fundraisers, such as staff quizzes, raffles and morning teas, supermarket barbeques, and sausage sizzles for kids. Sharing videos of Kahika Tepania accepting donations that will help Far North communities has also proved a popular way of promoting fundraising.

Kahika Tepania says he is hugely grateful to the four councils and for the recognition that recovery will be a long road for some communities in the Far North.

“We are certainly feeling the aroha up here in the Far North from the councils who have chosen us for the Adopt a Community scheme. The community to community support of the initiative has really resonated with councils across Aotearoa. Our hearts go out to all of the communities who are still recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle.”

Contributions to the Cyclone Gabrielle Mayoral Relief Fund are sitting at just over $400,000 with the assessment of applications and distribution of funds occurring weekly. Anyone suffering from hardship as a result of the cyclone is urged to fill out an application to the fund.

You can read more about the Mayoral relief fund, including how to apply, at Cyclone Gabrielle relief funding

Those wanting to contribute to the fund can make donations to ASB account 12 3244 0022509 04, using the reference ‘MRF’ and ‘Gabrielle’.

Main photo – Waitaki Deputy Mayor Hana Halalele, Opera House Event Coordinator Matthew Wicks, Executive Assistant to the Mayor Leanne Kingan, Councillor Tim Blackler, Councillor Jim Hopkins, President of Musical Theatre Ōamaru Melissa Yockney and Councillor Courtney Linwood (with Kahika Tepania pictured).

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