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Building community resilience


Supporting and interacting with the Wairoa community is a main focus for new Wairoa Emergency Management Advisor Lenny Ferris.

Community engagement and helping whānau are a big part of Lenny’s new role which is a collaborative approach coming under the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, funded by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and based at the Wairoa District Council offices.

Lenny is Wairoa born, bred and educated and has a varied career background from working in forestry and 17 years at Affco, to working with whānau through health promotion and whanau support.

Lenny has two daughters, Manaia and Riria, and is committed to the Wairoa community.

“I enjoy working with the community and helping where I can, and this role provides a new challenge.”

The Emergency Management Advisor role has two facets, the operational side which involves responding and planning to emergencies and the engagement side to raise community awareness, and planning.

Lenny says being prepared is key and he will be encouraging local people to have plans in place, so they are prepared for when an emergency occurs. “It’s about building resilience and encouraging people to think about what they might need and how they might respond in the case of an emergency.”

Being involved with the community is nothing new to Lenny who is a keen rugby coach, including helping out with the relaunch of women’s rugby in Wairoa, assisting in the Barry Cup coaching team, and he previously helped coached the Ross Shield.

Lenny is also a long-time Te Rerenga Kotuku kapa haka performer and supporters.

A key focus is educating people to be prepared for disaster by developing whānau plans and community resilience plans. Any groups, organisations or whānau who would like advice around a tailored plan in case of emergency should email Lenny on

The current emphasis is on New Zealand ShakeOut 2022, scheduled for Thursday 27 October at 9:30am. ShakeOut is an international earthquake drill and tsunami hikoi that aims to remind people what to do in case of an emergency. Wherever you are on that date and at that time, drop, cover, and hold for one minute. Then, move to higher ground or an area zoned safe from a tsunami.

19 October 2022

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