Auckland Council: Putting people first in an emergency

25.07.23 03:32 PM By WasteMINZ
Auckland Council workers clean up after the flood.

Months on from the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, we spoke to WasteMINZ members about their involvement in the immediate response and the clean up, ask them to share memories that stood out for them and learnings from the disasters. We talk to the team at Auckland Council about their experiences.

Tell us about your organisation in its BAU capacity

Auckland Council’s Waste Solutions is working towards zero-waste Auckland by 2040. We deliver kerbside refuse, recycling, food scraps and inorganic collections to over 550,000 customers. We partner with industry and organisations to address commercial waste and turn waste into resources.

Auckland Council workers pick up flood damaged items.

What was your organisation’s involvement during the floods and Cyclone Gabrielle?

During the Auckland floods and cyclone, our teams were out assessing the scale of the damage and responding to thousands of calls for help to remove materials safely. Meanwhile we continued business-as-usual by managing kerbside collections. 


Can you tell us about an interaction or moment that stood out for you?

Some communities were inaccessible where slips or weight restrictions meant collection trucks couldn’t get through. One workaround was using a ute and trailer for collections in a cut-off community which also gave shaken residents a sense of normalcy.

What learnings can you share with us? What surprised you, and what didn’t?

We are grateful for the incredible willingness and commitment of staff, our partners, and contractors to work non-stop until everyone was helped. 

Going forward, we are looking at using specialised emergency management technology for improved coordination between different agencies. This is because the sheer scale of disasters overwhelms normal day-to-day processes putting a lot of pressure on our staff and systems.

The cyclone recovery is ongoing. What’s next for you/your organisation?

We will continue to put people first. Everyone had specific needs and worries, and they appreciated having a personal response. As part of the recovery phase, we will review, reflect, and refine our response.

This is the second story in a series about the experiences of WasteMINZ members during the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. Read the first story here.