Next time Northland is hit by a natural disaster the region will be able to call on three ex-army Unimogs to move people and supplies through floodwaters and over damaged roads.

All that's needed now is a band of volunteers to drive the donated Mercedes-Benz Unimogs and keep them in working order.

Right now they're being looked after by the Kerikeri Cadet Unit, an army-affiliated youth group with about 20 members in their early teens.

Cadet leader Mita Harris said the Unimogs were powered by 5.7-litre turbo diesel engines, could handle rough terrain and drive through water almost 2m deep as long as the current wasn't too strong.

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Mita Harris is calling for volunteers to help maintain and drive these ex-army Unimogs, donated to Northland for use in floods and other emergencies. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Mita Harris is calling for volunteers to help maintain and drive these ex-army Unimogs, donated to Northland for use in floods and other emergencies. Photo / Peter de Graaf

The plan was to use them during floods, Civil Defence and search and rescue operations, and ''all sorts of emergencies''.

When Harris heard the army was starting to sell off its 1980s Unimogs he enlisted the help of Far North Mayor John Carter and Defence Minister Ron Mark to get a few for Northland.

''We were very lucky to get two. They are a koha, a gift, to the people of Te Tai Tokerau,'' Harris said.

A third Unimog was donated by Summit Forestry.

Harris is hoping to take them to marae in isolated communities in flood-prone areas such as North Hokianga to show what they are capable of.

But he also needs to find a group of volunteer mechanics to carry out ongoing maintenance, fundraisers and donors to help cover running costs, and ex-army drivers.

''We're looking for a group of people willing to help look after them and be kaitiaki,'' he said.

If you're interested call or text Mita Harris on 027 226 1584.

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