Editorial: Hearts and minds with Queensland

By ANTONY PHILLIPS - Editor


There are meaningful connections between Hawke's Bay and parts of flood-ravaged Queensland, struggling to come to terms with a natural disaster of near-biblical proportion.
In the days and weeks to come, we can expect more stories of loss, devastation and human tragedy in the wake of the massive floods that have wreaked havoc in the countryside, towns and cities.
Around 150,000 New Zealanders call Queensland home and there is a direct association between Hawke's Bay's Heretaunga Plains and Queensland's Lockyer Valley which includes the small towns of Gatton and Grantham, two of the worst hit areas.
There are business connections between our two regions and seasonal produce workers go back and forward. We are known as the fruitbowl of New Zealand; Lockyer Valley is the salad bowl of Australia.
Journalism student Hanna Butler has written a series of stories for Hawke's Bay Today (see page 1 for the latest) this week about people with Hawke's Bay connections who have been caught up in the floods.
Hanna, whose family is based in Hawke's Bay, was spurred to follow our connections to the flooded Queensland areas because she believed that residents here would relate to the affected people and their land.
"Our economy and geography are quite similar. Imagine if a flood like this ripped through the plains here," she says.
Hawke's Bay Today has a sister newspaper, The Toowoomba Chronicle, in one of the worst-hit towns.
The Chronicle's editor-in-chief, Steve Etwell, is one of the best in our publishing group and he has seen a lot in his years in journalism.

But the deadly wall of water that accompanied the flooding was something else again, he says.
In response to a message of support from Hawke's Bay Today, Steve replied.
"Thanks mate. It's an amazing story. You had to see it to believe it. There could be up to 60 dead eventually."
We told him the thoughts and prayers of the people of Hawke's Bay were with him and his readers.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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