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Soundshell service on Cyclone anniversary

Published: 29 January 2024

Last Updated: 15 February 2024

Cyclone Gabrielle Napier City Feb 2023 17 reduced size

Wood slash washed up on Napier's Marine Parade following Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023.

February 14 2023 is a date etched in Hawke’s Bay’s history. To mark the one-year anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle, a Civic Service will be held at the Napier Soundshell.

 The event will take place at 11.45am on Wednesday 14 February with a minute’s silence held at 12pm.

 Napier Mayor, Kirsten Wise, says the service is for everyone impacted by the cyclone, whether in a catastrophic or a small way. 

 “This will be an opportunity for the community to reflect on what happened and what was lost. Everyone will be invited to drop a stone into a vessel of water as a symbol of remembrance. This small gesture is a way of cleansing and signifying a fresh start,” Mayor Wise says. “It is hard to believe that one year ago, 70,000 Napier residents were without lifelines for up to a week in some areas. We have accomplished so much and shown such resilience and camaraderie.”

 The isolation Napier experienced included loss of health services, power, road connectivity in every direction, wastewater, drinking water, internet, and cellphone networks.

“In our darkest days we have seen Hawke’s Bay as a region come together and work as a team. It was, and still is, humbling to see our communities so united in the region’s recovery,” Mayor Wise says.

 The 14 February event will be attended by the Royal New Zealand Navy.  Napier’s Veronica Bell, located at the Soundshell, will be rung eight times before midday when a region-wide minute’s silence will take place to pay respect to all of those impacted by the cyclone.

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