Tomorrow self-described “humourist, documentarian, and raconteur” Te Radar is visiting cyclone-affected communities in the Tararua District to participate in a number of events that have been organised by the Tararua District Cyclone Recovery Programme and Rural Support Trust that are intended to highlight how the region is getting back on track after the damage wrought by Cyclone Gabrielle, as well as boost the spirits of those most affected by the extreme weather event.
During his visit, the comedian will spend time with roading teams at Tararua Alliance, meet the community at Herbertville, and host a bingo night at the Pongaroa Hall.
Mayor Tracey Collis said the district is looking forward to showing Te Radar “some of the incredible resilience of our communities and our people”, while Rural Support Trust’s Jane Tylee said his visit “will be a welcome break in late winter for communities who continue to have a really tough time”.
“It’s a chance for people to come in off the land, have a laugh and talk about how they are going,” Tylee said.
For his part, Te Radar was delighted to accept the invitation, and not just because he was already going to be in Wairoa today for another storm-related event.
“Over the years I have been showing incredible hospitality from people in the Tararua region and the chance to come back to bring [hopefully] a little cheer to them and remind them that those of us in the rest of the country haven’t forgotten about their predicament is a great honour,” he said.
As well as getting the chance to talk to roading crews “to get a sense of the kind of work they are undertaking in the rebuild, and see how much they have done, and how much there is to do”, Te Radar is also looking forward to visiting Herbertville for what he believes is the first time [“Shame on me!”], and to return to Pongaroa Hall, which he has “very fond memories of performing in years ago”.
“Also, who doesn’t love bingo!”
Te Radar has strong rural roots, having been brought up on a farm just out of Huntly, and in recent years has more or less cornered the market for MCing agricultural events around New Zealand.
Asked how he thinks the rural sector in general is coping with the myriad challenges it currently faces, he noted that “things are certainly pretty difficult”.
“It’s not just the hugely damaging storm events, it’s ongoing inclement weather, drops in income, and uncertainties around change and regulations and markets,” he said.
“Recovery will take a long time and be hugely expensive, but I meet a lot of farmers and growers who are able to look at it as an opportunity to reset for the future.
“That’s a very difficult mindset to have when you are standing amid the devastation and, for those who have lost everything, it can be incomprehensible. I don’t know how I would have coped, but people are just getting on with things as best they can.”
Te Radar also relayed some advice he recently picked up from someone who’d been through the devastation of Cyclone Bola in 1988.
“Make a list of things to do, and when you have done any of those things, cross it off but don’t erase it. It’s often hard to know how much you have actually done and leaving those tasks you’ve accomplished crossed off is a reminder of what you have done.
“I really appreciated that advice. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, but every day people are getting things done. Even small things are not no things.
“Also, give your friends a call and see how they’re doing.”