Huia is a small community with one road access in and out through the foothills of the Waitākere Ranges. And like many in The West, the area was hit by the Anniversary weekend floods.
Road slips and flooding caused widespread damage, and the community was without power for five days. However, this isn’t the first time locals have experienced power outages. The area is prone to trees falling on power lines and slips regularly close the road. Now locals in the Huia Cornwallis Ratepayers and Residents Association (HCRR) are working to build community resilience.
HCRR has existed since the 1950s when a group of neighbours got together to build the community hall. The community hall has continued to be owned and run by locals ever since. It provides a place for neighbours to socialise. And it is home to several groups offering a variety of activities and events.
Given its unique setting at the heart of the neighbourhood, the hall is the perfect location for an emergency community hub. According to HCRR’s secretary Rebecca Fletcher, the plan is for the community hall to support locals in times of need, like the recent floods and cyclone. Residents can use the facility to charge their phones, remain in contact with family and friends, continue to work remotely and connect with others in the community over a shared cuppa.
The community hall is already well set up with a fully functioning kitchen, heat pumps, toilet facilities and comfortable seating. Internet access was installed last year, independent of the mainstream networks, so HCRR and its provider can offer residents free Wi-Fi in an emergency. All that was missing was an electricity generator.
However, an application to the Your West Support Fund has provided $7,974 to purchase a new generator.
‘The addition of the generator is crucial to our plans to build resilience,’ reports Rebecca. She says it will provide power and lighting inside the community hall. And it means that locals can charge their phones, meet with others, have coffee and give and get support when needed.
With only around 585 homes in Huia, it’s crucial that locals stick together in times of need. HCRR’s initiative ensures this small community is future-proofed for adverse weather events or emergencies.