Two major employers who support hundreds of workers in Hawke’s Bay have committed to staying put and rebuilding their facilities in the region despite being hit hard by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Timber and pulp mill Pan Pac, based in Whirinaki north of Napier, and fertiliser plant Ravensdown, based in Awatoto south of Napier, were both flooded last Tuesday during the deadly cyclone.
The two businesses employ more than 600 people between them.
Following assessments of the storm damage, the two organisations have committed to fixing and rebuilding their respective facilities, rather than shutting permanently or moving elsewhere.
Pan Pac managing director Tony Clifford said their business, owned by Oji Group, was committed to rebuilding as quickly as possible.
“Our message to our Hawke’s Bay community, customers and suppliers is that we have been here 50 years and we are here to stay.
“We will rebuild.”
Pan Pac’s site was covered in floodwaters up to 2m deep last week, causing considerable damage to electrical and mechanical equipment.
“Pan Pac has a four-step recovery plan to get up and running and is working closely with the 400-plus contractors that depend on its business,” Clifford said.
“We know many people are hurting. Pan Pac contributes 6 per cent towards Hawke’s Bay’s GDP and many families rely on our business for their livelihoods.
“We aim to resume some forestry operations as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday this week, to provide work for our contractors.”
Pan Pac has over 400 staff. It is unclear when it will be up and running at a similar capacity to what it was before the cyclone.
Meanwhile, Ravensdown was also flooded and it is understood assessments in recent days have found the damage was not as bad as first thought.
A Ravensdown spokesperson confirmed the business was focused on “recovery” and would not close down as a result of the floods.
Ravensdown occupies a landmark site in Awatoto directly off SH51.