Cyclone Gabrielle Fundraiser
2024 Finalist

Cyclone Gabrielle Fundraiser


Gisborne, New Zealand

Category Public Relations and Community Service

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

Cyclone Gabrielle hit Aotearoa New Zealand in February 2023. It was the deadliest weather event to affect the nation in 40 years, killing 11 people, cutting power to hundreds of thousands, isolating towns, and destroying communities, homes, bridges, roads and livelihoods. The recovery will take years and billions of dollars.

Stuff is New Zealand’s home of breaking news and with more than 1.6 million visitors and 10.8 million page views on our platform as the true force of the cyclone hit, we quickly realised the massive impact our coverage was having — and that we could rally this huge national audience as a force for good.

Our readers told us that they wanted to help, and authorities told us that the best way to do that was with money, as donations of goods didn’t always match community needs.

In the thick of the crisis and our 24/7 live reporting, we launched the Stuff Cyclone Gabrielle Community Relief Fund on February 16 with a $10,000 donation to get the ball rolling. Within 24 hours we built a live fundraising tracker and via news articles, our social channels and the wider Stuff group network, we kicked off.

We also challenged businesses to contribute, with a call to match or better Stuff’s $10,000 donation. Companies who did, received a shout out on Stuff.

We focused on ensuring any funds raised went to those most affected, and pledged to distribute donations between the Red Cross and Mayoral Relief Funds in areas where a local state of emergency had been declared including Northland, Auckland, Tairawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawke’s Bay. Mayoral relief funds in New Zealand help local communities support families, community organisations and marae (Maori meeting houses) after an emergency.

Results for this campaign

We had hoped to raise $100,000. Just 12 hours after launch we hit $1 million. After 10 days, we raised $4.5 million via 35,000 donors. That’s the impact of quality journalism.

It was so well-received across the country that days after launch our closest competitor in the market set up a competing campaign.

Our audience was grateful for the opportunity to make a real difference for those affected:

“I am so appreciative that you have created a platform to make it easier for people to get help to those in need after this dreadful event. I have donated personally, will donate as a business owner and I am sharing the link.”

Thanks again for all the fantastic work the Stuff team is doing at this time to support those impacted and share their stories. The reporting is incredible.”

Givealittle, the fundraising platform which hosted donations, described the campaign as “unprecedented”. It was the second-largest page in Givealittle’s history.

One of the areas worst hit by Cyclone Gabrielle, Tairawhiti, was given one of the largest portions ($943,000) of the $4.5million.

Once donations were transferred to local mayoral funds, individuals and businesses could apply for relief for things such as septic tanks, debris removal, emergency hardship, fences, footpaths, basic needs and financial burden.

Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz said she was “blown away” by the generous donation.

“We have been through such a tough time, and we are humbled by this great gift. Thank you to every person in New Zealand, and in the world, who have donated.”

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the fund made a real difference to the recovery.

“I also want to acknowledge the awesome people from our community and across New Zealand who have contributed. Their kindness is truly appreciated.”

Red Cross secretary-general Sarah Stuart-Black thanked Stuff and its readers for the support.

“We’re hugely grateful to Stuff and the support you’ve given to promote the disaster fund.”




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