Cyclone Gabrielle’s widespread impact

Feb 16, 2023

Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand is devastated to see so many families and homes impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle in Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel, Gisborne and the Hawkes Bay, especially while the Upper North Island was still recovering from late January’s severe flooding.  

Our thoughts are with all whānau who have been uprooted from their homes and left feeling distressed by the cyclone’s impact on their communities. It is reported that over 10,500+ people have been displaced so far and 300 residents have been rescued from their rooftops.  

The full impact from Cyclone Gabrielle is yet to be seen but it is clear that access to safe shelter is a key priority. Thousands of families have properties badly damaged from the wild winds and floods, and many of those homes will be irreparable. Left without belongings or a place to call home, families need long-term support from community organisations on the ground in affected areas.  

While Habitat isn’t a first responder in times of disaster in New Zealand, our regional offices (Northern, Central and Eastern Bay of Plenty and Taranaki) are well-established in the communities impacted by the Cyclone. 

This week, they are currently trying to contact our Habitat families, housing tenants, and homeowners throughout the North Island to ensure they are safe and accounted for, while also preparing to support them through the oncoming hardship caused by the Cyclone’s impact on income, transport, and unexpected repair costs. 

Habitat regional offices are also in contact and coordinating with community and iwi organisations to provide support where needed in the best way they can. Our Habitat regional offices will always carefully and efficiently assess the needs of each affected community and then implement a long-term, localised response for maximum impact.  

Habitat New Zealand has been working in Aotearoa and responding to disasters in the Pacific for 30 years. For the families we are already working with and those who may become partner families due to this event, we are ready to support them and protect their access to adequate shelter.  

If you are in a position to support displaced and affected families, you can donate to our Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal today.




Update – 21.02.23

As the extent of devastation and displacement from Cyclone Gabrielle continues to be discovered, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand and our regional offices have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure our staff, volunteers, and Habitat families are accounted for.

“I can confirm that our regional offices in Northland and Central North Island have been able to contact their staff and Habitat families in highly affected areas, including Hawke’s Bay. These families are all safe and have not been adversely impacted or displaced following the Auckland floods or Cyclone Gabrielle,” says Alan Thorp, Habitat for humanity New Zealand Group CEO.

“We are now working to establish the nature of need on the ground for the wider community. This will shape our approach and guide our application of experience and existing Habitat programmes when we enter the recovery phase of this disaster. Our local relationships with community organisations and iwi are invaluable during this process.”



Cyclone Gabrielle, cyclone damage in Napier, flooding,

Flooding in Awatoto, near Napier, after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images