Former All Black Doug Howlett has joined relief efforts at Wesley Primary School by helping deliver parcels to people in the flood-affected community.
“It’s been super. It was good to put a smile on people’s faces in a difficult time,” Howlett told the Herald this morning.
Wesley was close to his heart, having grown up in the area, Howlett said.
“Before I became an All Black, I did most of the training at Lovelock Track. I know the area very well and this is a way to give back and show solidarity with the community.”
The community hub at Wesley Primary School, ARK (Act of Kindness Roskill) group looked after by Hope Missions had been the real “unsung heroes” and were doing a “super job”, Howlett said.
“The fact that those in need are able to be given a helping hand not only by me but the whole team, principal Lou Reddy, Malcolm Fata from ARK group - it is amazing. The volunteers have been doing an amazing job.
“We have had many wonderful donations. My job yesterday was to deliver these parcels to people.
“Obviously they are still in the middle of tough times. It speaks for the area though, they are not giving up hope, relying on each other to get through. You draw strength from them, they are doing it tough but are determined to make it through.”
One of the wonderful things that had come out from yesterday, Howlett said, was the principal of his former primary school had offered the school van to help the community hub in Wesley.
“I was able to connect with May Rd Primary School’s principal, Lynda Stuart, who has been doing amazing work to help the Muslim community.
“The principal offered their school van to enable us to make deliveries out to more people in need.”
Howlett said he encouraged more people to volunteer in the relief work.
“We have had a wonderful outpouring of support from the community and it is an opportunity to encourage others to come along. It is a big job getting supplies out to those who need them.”
Puketāpapa Local Board chairwoman Ella Kumar told the Herald this morning eight people had been evacuated due to flooding in the area overnight.
“Right now is about safety. Providing people with shelter and food,” she said.
The area had taken a hit again and “we are pretty wet and soaked”.
“O’Donnell Ave, which is in Wesley, has been affected. And the main areas of where the awa runs - Sandringham, Stoddard Rd, Somerset Rd, Rosalind etc.
“We need to have some caution on Gilleta Rd and other roads where we have had a bit of landslide.
“The business sector on Carr Rd is not coping so well with the flooding.”
People from across the suburbs were reaching out for support, Kumar said.
“We are getting input by speaking to people in the affected areas.
“People from Roskill South Oasis hub reached out to a kaumātua from Waikowhai, who along with a family member had been evacuated.
“At Wesley Hub, Global hope and ARK are working with people in Wesley and the surrounding area.
“Many people are evacuating mainly due to flooding. They already had flooded properties over the weekend and now this weather doesn’t help.”
The majority of people in the affected areas had been re-accommodated and had not been in their homes to see what it was like with the second hit, she said.
“I am concerned about the business area as well. They have gone through Covid, ram raids and now flood. I urge people to stay at home.
“We are working on clean-up days. ARK is working hard to establish a wrap-around service with all agencies for those who have been displaced.”
Many roads had been blocked due to slips, fallen trees and flooding today as a result of torrential rain overnight.
Niwa reported this morning that, in 24 hours, 71mm of rain had fallen at its Western Springs climate station in Auckland - “a month’s worth of rain... again”. Much of the rain fell in only a few hours including 25.2mm in one hour, 44.2 mm in two hours and 58.6mm in three hours.