Kāpiti Mana Disaster Welfare Support Team Red Cross New Zealand - 2023 Volunteer Story Comp

The Kapiti-Mana Disaster Welfare Support Team (DWST) of New Zealand Red Cross is a great example of a group of dedicated volunteers in the Kapiti and Wellington community. They have unwavering commitment, compassion, and expertise, playing a vital role connecting with communities, and providing psychosocial support to people after crises.

The team members of the Kapiti-Mana DWST team demonstrate exceptional empathy and compassion both within the team, and towards the people they connect with. They understand that in times of crisis, individuals and families may be experiencing trauma, loss, and emotional distress. By offering a compassionate ear, a comforting presence, and practical assistance; their genuine care and understanding create a safe space where individuals can share their experiences, receive emotional support, and find solutions to help themselves.

The team has a 'can do' attitude, are always there and ready to respond to support communities during times of crises and are prepared to handle a wide range of situations. The team trains fortnightly to be ready to support people’s emotional and physical welfare, including:

  • Setting up and providing support in evacuation centres.
  • Undertaking needs assessments to understand what support people need.
  • Providing psychosocial support, which includes peoples' emotional, practical and
  • social needs.

An example of how the Kapiti-Mana team in action is when the team flew on the ground to the Auckland Floods in January and February, then to Hawkes Bay following Cyclone Gabrielle. The team also helped prepare logistics before the cyclone response." The team is from all walks of life and come together as a cohesive team. Every single member plays to their strengths; everyone brings different skills, expertise, and experience to the team, and the team shares its experiences and knowledge across everyone. Each member dedicates a lot of time to keep the team running and organised; such as admin, running trainings and excercises, equipment and vehicle management, and building relationships.

The team puts a lot of time into consistent training fortnightly to make sure their skills are kept up to date, and they are ready when needed.

The team has also been continuing to grow its community connections, and you'll see them down at the Paraparaumu markets sometimes in the weekend