Flooding and the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread damage throughout the North Island of New Zealand, Auckland’s West Coast among those hardest hit.
Prior to the Tour’s return to New Zealand for the New Zealand Open and NZ PGA Championship this past fortnight, many players had expressed concern for the plight of those affected.
As such, the PGA of Australia – on behalf of Tournament Members who contribute each year to the Charity Fund – will donate $5,000 to both the Karekare Community Cyclone Recovery Support and the Muriwai Community Recovery Charitable Trust.
A member of the Tournament Players Council, Matthew Griffin is a former New Zealand Open champion and competed at Gulf Harbour this past week and said the players were only too happy to contribute to two such worthy causes.
“As players, we were so excited to return to New Zealand this season, but we were very aware that those extreme weather events had impacted many local communities in very significant ways,” Griffin said.
“Our golf tournaments cannot happen without community support and as a playing group, we wanted to do something to help communities in Auckland to get back on their feet.”
“We know a lot of families are still doing it very tough but hopefully, with the support of the Karekare Community Recovery and the Muriwai Community Recovery Charitable Trust, life can get back to normal as soon as possible.”
Made famous by the Oscar Award-winning film, The Piano, and 35 minutes from Auckland, the Karekare community sustained massive damage during Cyclone Gabrielle and subsequent weather events. Six homes were lost, and many others remain uninhabitable.
Both roads that link the community to the outside world are still closed due to massive slips (16 in total) and are likely to be closed to the public for up to 12 months.
Every day since the cyclone hit on February 13, helicopters have flown in supplies of food, fuel, water and animal feed. Until safe vehicle access is restored to the community, these regular heli-drops will be the norm.
The community is still very much an active Disaster Relief area with a Community Hub set up on one family’s front lawn overlooking the ocean. Residents meet there to collect their emergency supplies of food, water, medical supplies and animal feed.
Similarly, Muriwai was significantly impacted by extreme weather events. This resulted in severe property damage, power, and water outages, land slips and road closures.
This was also the region where two volunteer firefighters were unfortunately killed.
“We are proudly named the PGA TOUR of Australasia, and our New Zealand friends form an integral part of our tour,” added the PGA of Australia’s Tournaments Director Australasia, Nick Dastey.
“We have witnessed two fantastic weeks of championship golf in New Zealand but we arrived knowing that there were communities dealing with natural disasters.”
“We had many calls and conversations with players in the lead-up to our arrival in New Zealand. While we have been here there is no doubt our players have been very concerned for the local communities affected and are only too happy to see the Charity Fund donated in this fashion.”
The Karekare Community Cyclone Recovery Support is blown away by the generous support of PGA Tour of Australasia. “For the players to recognise the challenges some of our communities have faced in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle and make a tangible donation in this way is testament to their good character and the integrity of the tournament. $5,000 will have a meaningful impact on our community recovery, and we are very grateful for the support. Our heartfelt thanks – ngā mihi maioha”