News Release

Cleanup Efforts Begin After Cyclone Gabrielle Slams into New Zealand

Heavy rain and high winds cause loss of life and major damage

A fallen tree in Takapuna, Auckland. Cyclone Gabrielle February 2023.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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New Zealanders are dealing with the aftermath of Gabrielle, a severe tropical cyclone that reached a Category 3 on February 6, 2023. Several days of heavy rain and high winds in the storm’s path have caused loss of life and major damage to properties in several parts of the island nation.

“We are praying for those who have suffered loss of family members, and of property,” said Elder K. Brett Nattress, President of the Pacific Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We add to these prayers our helping hands, alongside the relief work of many others, to bring assistance and hope to those impacted by this cyclone.”

Members and missionaries are working with neighbors, community and government groups going door-to-door to clean up neighborhoods impacted by devastation.

Mission President David Thomson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ New Zealand Wellington Mission has reported that all missionaries are safe and accounted for.

Four missionaries were evacuated from the Napier (Hawke’s Bay) area as part of a wider community evacuation led by New Zealand civil defense workers as floodwaters rose rapidly. The missionaries spent the night sheltering in the home of a local Latter-day Saint family.

“We expect that … the four elders will be back in their area and communications will begin to return to normal over the next few days,” President Thomson said.

“Like most people in their area, electricity supplies have been disrupted, and we don’t expect those to be fully restored for a few days,” said President Thomson. “We have a senior couple serving in the area and they are making regular visits to make sure missionaries have food and other supplies. We are also receiving excellent support from local Latter-day Saint leaders.”

President Garrick Parr of the New Zealand Auckland Mission and President Jeffery Nikoia of the New Zealand Hamilton Mission reports that all missionaries are confirmed safe.

Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auckland, New Zealand.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Reports indicate that several meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially in the north of the country and Hawke’s Bay, have suffered flooding and other damage.

As incoming reports continue to provide a fuller assessment of the impact of the cyclone, the Church leadership will determine how best to support recovery efforts in the coming days and weeks.

Learn more about the impact of the cyclone on New Zealand here; and on Norfolk Island here.

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