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Friday, May 26, 2017

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Simple act of kindness a 'no brainer'

Posted at 6:00pm Wednesday 19 Apr, 2017 | By David Tauranga david@thesun.co.nz

A simple act of generosity shown by Pacific Toyota recently has left the Bay of Plenty District Health Board feeling immensely grateful.

The dealership loaned five Hilux 4WD trucks to the district health board so its emergency response team staff could deliver essential services in flood-affected areas of the Bay of Plenty over Easter.

Mental Health and Addiction Services clinical director Dr Sue Mackersey, who acted as the BOPDHB Emergency Operations Centre’s psychosocial coordinator over the weekend, explains the trucks were essential for staff to carry out their jobs in both the Eastern and Western Bay.

“There was concern about the safety of travel for staff heading over to support the Eastern Bay of Plenty response, and at the time, there was also concern about being able to deliver our normal, day-to-day services in the Western Bay due to the predicted severity of Cyclone Cook.

“So when we arrived at Tauranga Hospital on Thursday morning and found these trucks had been donated for us to use, it was quite exciting.”

Sue says over the weekend the DHB emergency response team made a number of trips carting staff and supplies between Whakatane, Edgecumbe, Kawerau and other outlying centres.

Thursday was a particularly busy day for them, and while people across the region were being warned to head home early before Cyclone Cook made landfall, the team ended leaving the Eastern Bay late in the afternoon because they had been rushed off of their feet.

“As we were arriving back into Tauranga the storm hit and the rain was coming down really heavily, but the trucks were fantastic. We felt really safe, all our gear stayed dried, and we also had enough room to bring back an elderly lady who wanted to stay with her family in Tauranga.  

“The next day, because the road was closed, we had to go around through the lakes and there was lots of storm debris, slush, and surface flooding, but the trucks made it that much more comfortable and safer. They were absolutely excellent.”

The trucks have since been returned to Pacific Toyota and Sue admits it was very sad to say goodbye to the vehicles, which were “very dirty, but had been very well used”, on Tuesday morning.

“We are incredibly grateful to Toyota, it was incredibly generous because they were brand new trucks, so we really want to thank them. It’s this sort of thoughtfulness and generosity that has made this whole emergency response work so effectively.”

Three of the Hilux trucks were loaned from Pacific Toyota’s Tauranga branch, while the remaining two were from the Whakatane branch.

Pacific Toyota CEO Mark Mills says when the BOPDHB contacted him asking if he would consider lending them vehicles to use as part of their emergency response, he had been driving back from Whakatane along the expressway “and it was just hosing down”.

“We closed the Whakatane dealership early on the Thursday the week before last because we had staff with homes affected by the flooding, plus it was Easter Weekend so we would be closed for a couple of days, so I told the DHB that it was no problem.

“It was something small we could do in our own community, and it’s worked out okay. We had a fleet of demonstrator vehicles and rather than using them for test drives, it’s better they’re out there helping people.

“At the end of the day that’s what they’re designed to do, it was a no brainer.”


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Sunset along the Mount Beach. Photo: Wendy van der Vyver. Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. photos@thesun.co.nz







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