The doors of the Community Hub in Westport closed for the final time on 27 January 2023.

The Community Hub and Navigator service was set up after the July 2021 flood in Westport. Almost 18 months later it is time for the Community Hub on Palmerston Street to close and for the Navigators to say goodbye.

At its peak, the Navigator Service was supporting 153 households (215 in total) and 300 to 400 people were visiting the Hub monthly. Almost 3,500 visited over the time the hub was open. As we recovered, demand has dropped off over time. It is now time for the needs of the community to be met by existing services.

How was the Hub funded?

The Hub was initially set up for 12 months with $1m of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) funding. Based on need, an addition $500,000 was sought from Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) lotteries to take the Hub through to the end of January 2023.

Furniture for the Hub was donated by Bathurst Mining, and Mitre 10 provided a $10,000 contribution towards the setting up of the hub.

Where do people go for help/support?

Over recent months the Navigators have been helping clients transition out of the service and connecting them with other supports such as the Residential Advisory Service (RAS) for insurance/rebuild support, Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS), Ministry of Social Development, Te Whatu Ora for health, including mental health services and local NGO’s.

Buller District Council will continue working with people on the process of getting red and yellow placards removed from flood-damaged homes.

This website ( will remain live and continue to provide information on accessing support services.

Recently, Navigators have delivered information bags to impacted areas and the general public with a farewell letter, wellness tips and information on where to go for help.

Social Recovery Manager Stephanie Newburry acknowledges that whilst this marks the end of Buller Flood Recovery’s psychosocial support, the process of recovering from a natural disaster can be long and complex, with everyone at different stages in their recovery.

“Social and psychological recovery is achieved when people are once again engaged in life. When they live with purpose and when they feel positive emotions most of the time following the disaster. This might be how many people feel in Buller, but if it isn’t you, your children or the people you care about, that’s ok too. Everyone recovers differently and support is out”

A great way to improve wellbeing is following the five ways of wellbeing.





A new and free counselling service has been established those impacted by the floods.  To self-refer, contact Homebuilders West Coast, 03 788 8065, for more information

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by daily activities, you should seek help from your healthcare provider.

A farewell from the Navigators

Homebuilders West Coast Trust has managed the Hub and Navigator service over the past six months – taking over from Poutini Waiora.

Homebuilders Chief Executive Lorraine Scanlon (ONZM) says it has been the team’s absolute privilege and honour to work alongside so many people on their recovery journey.

“The Hub has been a safe place for people to visit, to have a cuppa, to talk to someone, to read a book, to seek and gain information, to work with a Navigator, and so much more.

“What was special for me is that local people from local NGOs were chosen to be Navigators to support the Buller community. The trauma of the floods affected our team too, but they dedicated themselves to supporting hundreds of people.”

At its peak, the Community Hub and Navigator programme employed 13 local people in 10 FTE roles across five NGOs – Poutini Waiora, Homebuilders, Buller REAP, Te Ha O Kawatiri, and No.37 Community House.

L-R Homebuilders West Coast CE Lorraine Scanlon (ONZM), Buller REAP’s Mary-Rose O’Loughlin and Flood Recovery’s Stephanie Newburry





A fond farewell at today’s closing event.