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Independent Review into the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Response into Cyclone Gabrielle


This Independent Review has been commissioned by the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Joint Standing Committee which represents Hawke’s Bay’s five councils – Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, Wairoa District Council and Central Hawke’s Bay District Council – as well as advisory members from Ngāti Kahungunu iwi and PSGE delegates.

Review purpose.

The purpose of this Independent Review is to assess the operational performance of the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s immediate response to Cyclone Gabrielle, with a particular emphasis on the systems and processes, and roles and responsibilities of Group members and partners.

This Review will be focused on the lessons and opportunities that can be drawn from a really targeted period of time, including the days immediately leading into the event and the immediate emergency response stage, prior to the region’s move toward recovery.  The Review will also look at how much the implementation of pre-existing arrangements contributed to an effective management of the response for mana whenua and Hawke’s Bay communities.

This Review will be future focused, with outcomes used to identify learnings, improve resilience, and ensure the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group has robust emergency management capability and capacity to support better emergency management outcomes for Hawke’s Bay communities.

It is important to note that this review is separate to the Hawke’s Bay Independent Flood Review and the Government Inquiry into the national response to the North Island severe weather events, both of which are currently underway.

Review Terms of Reference and Framework.

Linked here are the Framework for the Review and the Terms of Reference for the Review.

Review panel.

The Review is being conducted by Bush International Consulting and will be led by Mike Bush, the former Commissioner of New Zealand Police. 

The other members of the Review Panel are:

  • Debbie Francis, who has been involved in multiple large-scale and high-profile reviews for government and private industry. 
  • Gary Knowles, the former Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations at the New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). 
  • Paul Vlaanderen, who has an extensive law enforcement background, including Search and Rescue (SAR) roles with NZ Police in Wairoa and Taupo. 

Revisiting events related to Cyclone Gabrielle may be challenging for some people. There is support available for you and your whānau if you need it, including:


  • Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Resource and Information Service.

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand | mauri tū mauri ora has information for anyone who is going through a difficult time, for people supporting someone they care about, and those interested in mental health and wellbeing. 

Further information can be sourced here: 


  • Helplines and Support.

Helpline services are available right now in New Zealand that offer support, information and help for you and your parents, family, whānau and friends. 

All the services listed here are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified. 

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