Chair Keedwell says Horizons role is to reduce the region’s potential effects of hazards such as floods, earthquakes, slips and tsunamis; promote community preparedness to respond to such emergencies; and to help our region recovery after an event.
“To do this we need to ensure our emergency management staff are in a strong, safe and self-reliant building,” says Chair Keedwell.
“Te Ao Nui, Palmerston North’s only IL4 office building, has been constructed to meet the most stringent seismic performance measures and NABERS New Zealand 4 energy efficient rating.
“The building’s features include a high thermal performing building envelope, solar assisted water heating, electric vehicle charging points, and sophisticated heating and cooling systems.
“The second floor has the capacity to exist off the grid, including its own supply of drinking water, wastewater storage, and power to support Horizons Regional Council and Palmerston North City Council’s civil defence operations.
“Up until the opening of the offices in Te Ao Nui, the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group and Horizons Emergency Operations and Coordination Centres have been operating from Horizons’ Regional House next door at 15 Victoria Ave.
Palmerston North’s emergency management office has been operating out of the basement of the City Council’s building in The Square.
Mayor Grant Smith says the new purpose-built facility has an added bonus of working side by side with Horizons’ emergency management staff.
“This aligns well with the desired outcomes of central government’s proposed emergency management systems reform following the 2017 Ministerial Review into Better Responses to Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies,” says Mayor Smith.
Horizons Regional Council Chief Executive and Group Controller for the CDEM Group Michael McCartney says that the facility will enhance the operational capability and resilience of the Group.
“The new facility will allow us to continue to effectively support our regional community both during and after emergency events,” says Mr McCartney.
“In addition to sharing office space and resources, the real synergy will be evident during an emergency event when other emergency management agencies such as Fire and Emergency NZ, Public Health, NZ Defence, and Police come together.
Chair Keedwell says the name Te Ao Nui signals a place where we are bound together, for the people, for the environment, and for the world in which we live.
“We’re all now looking forward to seeing this place come to life and to help serve our communities.”