skip to main content

Review terms finalised for flood protection and drainage

stopbanks rebuild Hinewai Ormsby Mar 2023

The terms of reference for a review into the performance of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s flood scheme assets and river management programmes have been finalised and accepted by the Council. This signals the start of the review.

Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby says, “We’re fully committed to this thorough review of our flood infrastructure.  While our team will be providing full disclosure to support the process, they’ll also remain at arm’s length throughout to ensure all resulting outcomes and conclusions are independent.”

The terms of reference state the purpose of the review is to:

  1. Understand the circumstances and contributing factors that led to flooding in the Hawke’s Bay region during Cyclone Gabrielle.
  2. Report on the performance of the Regional Council’s flood scheme assets and river management programmes during Cyclone Gabrielle.
  3. Review decision making regarding catchments where flood scheme assets and river management programmes exist and whether these remain viable.

While the Regional Council has initiated the review, it has commissioned an independent three-person panel to conduct it thoroughly.  The full terms of reference can be found here.

The panel will be chaired by Dr Phil Mitchell, an Auckland-based partner and co-founder of Mitchell Daysh, a nation-wide specialist environmental and planning consultancy. 

The other two panel members are Kyle Christensen, an independent consultant from Wellington with over 20-years’ experience in river and stormwater engineering, and Bernadette Roka Arapere, a barrister with Kōkiri Chambers, Whanganui, who specialises in public law litigation, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori legal issues, and whenua and governance matters.

During the review process, the panel will be actively seeking engagement with members of the community affected by the cyclone, as well as iwi and stakeholders with an interest in the flood event from Cyclone Gabrielle.  At that time there will be opportunity for people to provide information, input and feedback into the process.

The scope of the review is to look at the performance of all Regional Council-owned flood protection, drainage schemes, river management programmes and associated assets as well as to consider and recommend a range of long-term, holistic options that have regard to increasing risks related to climate change.

Chair Ormsby welcomes the review, “Given the vast damage and devastation impacted communities experienced from Cyclone Gabrielle, this review is incredibly important to us. We’re looking forward to the findings and recommendations and Regional Council hopes to be able to build them into its long-term planning to ensure our rohe has greater resilience against similar future events. We also hope that learnings can also be taken and applied to other regions where applicable.”

Excluded from the review are any roles or responsibilities that lay with district or city councils, Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management (HBCDEM) responses or anything occurring once the region had moved into the recovery phase of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The final report is expected to be received by the Regional Council and subsequently released to the public in early 2024.

A second review of the HBCDEM Group operational response to Cyclone Gabrielle is also planned to commence this year, the timing of which has yet to be confirmed.




Need more info?

Contact Mike Johansson
Director Communications and Engagement
06 835 9200 | 027 263 5986

26 July 2023

Back to News Archive

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hawke's Bay Regional Council - / +64 6 835 9200 /