Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand has formalised a loan vehicle agreement with Taskforce Kiwi, following its support of the not-for-profit’s Cyclone Gabrielle disaster relief response earlier this year.
MMNZ has agreed to supply the organisation with three Triton utes to facilitate community projects in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
MMNZ Chief Executive Officer Warren Brown described the partnership as “a small contribution within the greater scope of the invaluable work undertaken by Taskforce Kiwi’s incredible team of volunteers”.
Established in September 2022, Taskforce Kiwi largely consists of former members of the defence force, police and emergency services, who volunteer alongside Kiwis from the wider community to offer their skills and experience in aid of local communities ‘on their worst day’.
The volunteers work alongside emergency management agencies, local government and community organisations to provide natural disaster relief.
In its short life, Taskforce Kiwi has deployed 222 volunteers in response to six events in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, totalling 6,888 volunteer hours.
Events include flood relief in Hawke’s Bay, Auckland and New South Wales, and wildfire response in Canada.
Help for Hawke’s Bay
In the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023, Taskforce Kiwi sent 165 volunteers to assist in a range of operations, including debris clearance, missing person searches, needs assessments and aid coordination.
One essential requirement was quick availability of fit-for-purpose off-road vehicles, so Taskforce Kiwi national director Richard Adams got in touch with MMNZ.
“I’d worked with a similar organisation across the Tasman, which had a relationship with Mitsubishi Motors Australia,” explained Adams. “I managed to arrange contact with MMNZ and they were very quick to get on board.
“We had the conversation on a Thursday and by Saturday they had four Triton utes ready and waiting for us.
“We used the vehicles for ten weeks and they proved vital to our work, enabling us to have a greater impact on the ground, because we could navigate uncertain and dynamic environments that we couldn’t have accessed without them.
“We used the Tritons for recon – checking roads nobody had been through since the cyclone, some of which were still heavily inundated with water – and we knew we could deploy volunteers safely in those vehicles.
“As we are a not-for-profit organisation, having the Tritons on loan at no cost was a massive boost.”
Now that MMNZ has formalised the relationship, Taskforce Kiwi will receive three long-term loan vehicles for day-to-day operations and, when required, emergency disaster relief. MMNZ will also have additional vehicles on hold in case extra assistance is required.
“It means a lot to our organisation,” said Adams. “We’ll use them to help with volunteer training and community engagement, as well as disaster response when needed.”
Warren Brown said the MMNZ team was only too happy to provide help when asked.
“Taskforce Kiwi does an incredible job punching above its weight to help local communities and those in need further afield,” said Brown.
“It embodies those great Kiwi traditions of volunteering, teamwork and endeavour. As a people-focused business, we recognised this was a perfect opportunity to give something back to our local communities.
“In Triton, we had the right vehicle for the task at hand, so it really was a no-brainer from our point of view.”
Taskforce Kiwi is not the only organisation to benefit from MMNZ’s charitable donations this year. The company’s annual Matariki initiative encourages staff to nominate and vote for donations to good causes they’ve had personal experiences with, or are passionate about. This year the selected organisations are:
Wellington Free Ambulance, which provides free ambulance and healthcare services for the Greater Wellington and Wairarapa region.
Life Flight Trust, which provides critical medical care for patients in hard-to-reach places via air ambulance.
Ronald McDonald House Wellington, which provides families with accommodation and support while a child is staying in a hospital away from home.
Jemima’s Wish, which raises awareness and funds for DIPG brain tumour research and clinical trials.
The Swan Nest, which provides children living with complex health conditions or a terminal illness with therapy, support and advocacy.