Community engagement follows pandemic response

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Following the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Integrated Recovery Team (IRT) – a collective team of organisations working on recovery – is asking the community what projects and actions will help the Whanganui Region into the future.

Since the recovery process began in mid-May 2020, the IRT has had face-to-face hui with about 40 community-based organisations in the Whanganui Region.

A community survey also asked people in the Whanganui Region what worked well during the crisis response, what could have been done better and what their lockdown experience was like. More than 350 people responded.

Whanganui and Partners also surveyed the business community about support and initiatives which could make a difference to economic recovery and sustainability in future, with 87 responses.

Recovery Manager Charlotte Almond says community engagement will assess social, health and economic needs and find out more about community plans and projects already in place and how the IRT can support them.

“We are visiting a diversity of groups including those which support children and whānau, Māori and Pacifica, environment, mental health and wellbeing, neighbourhood and community development, rural and more. Our visits are not limited to Whanganui District, but also our communities in Ruapehu, Waimarino and Rangitikei.

“Feedback from the hui, community surveys and our engagement at Whanganui River Markets was varied but generally people want a healthier work-life balance, a focus on wellness, looking after the environment and sustainability, more collaboration between agencies, increased connection in our communities and support for vulnerable people,” says Ms Almond.

Feedback will be collated and presented in late July 2020 and from there the Integrated Recovery Team will look at the next steps for how organisations may be able to work collaboratively on the future of our region.

Ms Almond says the Integrated Recovery Team, as well as most community organisations, were striving to work collaboratively before the Covid-19 pandemic, but the crisis has helped relationships develop further.

“Often positive things come out of a crisis and in this case we are getting the most out of existing relationships by working together on collective community plans developed for the good of all communities.”

For more information about the Integrated Recovery Team, visit


About the Integrated Recovery Team (IRT)

Whanganui District Civil Defence was the lead agency for the Covid-19 crisis in the Whanganui Region but was joined by Whanganui District Emergency Management in March 2020.  Following the response, Ruapehu District Council and Rangitikei District Council have become part of the Integrated Recovery Team alongside partner organisations.