• April 21, 2017
Constable Tineke Laing and her 6-year-old son Ronan accepting an award from Inspector Jason Hewett. Photo: Jarred Williamson / Fairfax
A South Auckland police officer has reached out to flood-ravaged residents of Edgecumbe.
Constable Tineke Laing of the Counties Manukau West district has set up drop boxes for locals to donate goods to the Bay of Plenty town.
Following the floods earlier this month, she felt it necessary to help the community.
The Whakatane Beacon reported that around 1600 people were evacuated from their homes.
Constable Laing had seen first-hand the effects natural disasters – such as the Whanganui floods and the Christchurch earthquakes – can have on communities.
“I basically took it upon myself to put a call out for donations, and people were immediately responding to my request, so to make it easier for the community, I set up drop boxes in a couple of the local libraries,” she said.
“I’ve already got several boxes and several loads that I’m going to pick up myself. It’s really gone quite crazy, we’ve had lots of offers of donations.”
Constable Laing said she used her role to spread the word to her connections in the community.
“I’ve done this as a community member – I’m doing what I can in my own time.”
The Edgecumbe Lions Club will be receiving the donated goods. Club president Harold Perry said it was rewarding to know that people from outside Edgecumbe were offering their help.
Mr Perry said the club had received thousands of donations – both monetary and physical goods.
“It is very welcoming and it’s been very heartwarming. We’ve also had numerous offers of clothing from surrounding districts,” he said.
The Minister for Social Development, Anne Tolley, and the Minister for Building and Construction, Dr Nick Smith, announced in a media statement that the Government would provide temporary accommodation for Edgecumbe residents affected by the floods.
"We are still assessing the damage to know how many homes will need to be replaced and how many repaired but it is clear assistance will be required for a significant number of families for temporary accommodation,” said Mrs Tolley.
Dr Smith said that the Edgecumbe Temporary Accommodation Service (ETAS) had been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help people affected by the floods.
The drop boxes set up by Constable Laing can be found at the Mangere Bridge library, the Old Papatoetoe library, the Otahuhu Police Station and the Onehunga Police Station.
This is not the first time that Constable Laing has stood up for a community in need. Last year, she was awarded an Area Commander's Commendation at the Counties Manukau Police District Awards after she converted what had been described as a “dangerous” Mangere Bridge walkway into a community garden.