How it was for Hellen Folau, Manager Regional Maintenance, Western, Central and Northern Region.
My areas of West, North and Central Auckland were widely impacted by the storm.
The following day Spencer Henshaw was ready to attend to all urgent jobs that tenants had phoned through to the Customer Support Centre the previous night.
Most of the urgent repairs involved clearing debris that had blown into properties, trimming and removing branches from damaged trees, repairing fences that had blown down or were badly damaged, and repairing broken gutters. Spencer Henshaw reacted responsively and proactively while they were onsite and cleared and effectively managed any other hazards they saw.
Roofing iron had come loose or had blown off some houses, so these repairs were prioritised to keep tenants warm, dry and safe. In one case, a roof had blown off a privately owned property into the front yard of a Housing New Zealand property, making it look like a scrap metal yard. Contractors had to remove the debris quickly to make this property safe again for the tenants.
An iron roof at one of our pensioner complexes in Mt Roskill had also blown off and this was secured promptly to keep the tenants warm and dry.
Power issues throughout parts of West and Central Auckland meant power defaulted to low voltage for some tenants. As a result, we had tenants who did not have sufficient power voltage to charge electric wheelchairs. One tenant’s neighbour was able to supply a generator for them to use, and other tenants had the good timing of Vector on their side with the power back on in time to charge their wheelchairs.
My region has a number of apartment buildings with automated entry and we had some issues with doors not staying closed. Unfortunately there is very little that can be done in these situations, so we temporarily relocated some tenants.
The issue with the wheelchairs was a learning curve for everyone, as we had to seek advice from mobility specialists to ascertain how much a new battery would cost, if we had to find batteries for the wheelchairs. In the end, we didn’t need to go down this path, but not a stone was left unturned to ensure the wellbeing of our tenants, particularly those with significant health and other specialist needs. One tenant with mobility issues was so appreciative of our efforts that they phoned the New Zealand Herald to pass on their thanks for our kindness and support.
The result was a very positive story that again highlighted the efforts, compassion and care our contractors showed and continue to show during these times.