A group of New Zealand Buddhists have handed over nearly $100,000 in gift cards to victims of the Edgecumbe flood, with plans to offer even more.
The Buddhist Compassion Relief Foundation, known as Tzu Chi, offered 200 gift cards worth $700 each to local residents yesterday.
A total of 133 gift cards were personally handed over, often accompanied with hugs, by foundation representatives to the flood victims who showed up to the emotionally- charged presentation.
The recipients were among a total of 269 homes red or yellow stickered.
A Whakatane District Council spokeswoman said the initiative was not led by the council and was very much a Tzu Chi driven gesture. The council only helped with its facilitation, she said.
Elected members of Whakatane District Council contacted occupants this week to let them know of today's presentation. Tzu Chi was unable to do so themselves as contact information for households is private and not to be shared with external agencies, prompting the council's help.
Mayor Tony Bonne said he expected if any households had not yet been assessed, and were needing determination as to whether they might be red or yellow stickered, they would still be eligible for the gifts.
Mr Bonne said: "This is an opportunity to ensure that all households who are in need of some assistance, and who may not have presented themselves earlier, actually get the wrap-around care they should".
Alternative arrangements can be made for anyone unable to personally attend the gifting from Tzu Chi.
If a household involved several tenants, the gift card will be given to the name on the tenancy agreement - not one card for each tenant. However, it's understood Tzu Chi want to provide another opportunity for cards to be handed over to those who miss out this time.
People will have to have proof of ID, which will be checked against the properties details, before they are given a card.
No one from Tzu Chi was able to be reached for comment.