The importance of planning for emergencies has recently been highlighted when a hillside in Maraekakaho suffered a vegetation fire just before Christmas 2023. The area was previously identified as a fire risk and the local brigade undertook a training exercise to help prepare, especially given the properties present in the area. The local brigade knew exactly what to do and held back the fire until two helicopters arrived. Ka pai!

In 2023, Cyclone Gabrielle brought on widespread flooding throughout the Hawke’s Bay, impacting thousands of people across the region. While the recovery effort continues, some communities are preparing themselves for future events.

One such community is Maraekakaho, a small, rural town just outside of Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay. Their journey started with the community identifying that there was a need to be better prepared for emergency events in the future. Once this need was identified, they then brought in Hastings District Council, Focus Maraekakho and Fire and Emergency New Zealand to help support them in developing a community plan.

To create this plan, Fire and Emergency’s District Community Readiness and Recovery team worked as a key contact between the community and the council, helping to facilitate community meetings and workshops to develop the plan.

The video case study below showcases how the Maraekakaho Brigade, the community and local council are working together to improve community readiness in the area, and is an excellent example for other communities, like Maraekakaho, so they can understand how they can come together to protect themselves and the wider community.

The video can be used as a conversation starter between our people and our at-risk communities to create a collective kōrero about the risks they face and ways to improve community readiness.


Thanks to the Maraekakaho Volunteer Brigade, Focus MKK and Hastings District Council for helping to create the video.

If you’d like to use the video, or to find out more about the Readiness and Recovery space and see how we can help with building readiness and recovery into your planning, email CRR@fireandemergency.nz

Last modified: