New Zealand’s largest newsgroups have ramped up efforts to assist people affected by the devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

NZME, the parent group of BusinessDesk and the NZ Herald, has teamed up with the NZ Red Cross to start a fundraising appeal. 

The Red Cross has established a special NZ disaster fund to assist those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle and flooding across the North Island this summer. 

The NZ Herald will provide links to the Red Cross fund on its website and feature a fundraising tracker to help raise donations.

Click here to donate to the NZ Red Cross Disaster Fund.

NZME's chief executive, Michael Boggs, said the company was determined to help people impacted by the cyclone, which has claimed the lives of six people and left thousands homeless.

“The events have been catastrophic for communities across the North Island, and the need for support is critical,” Boggs said. “At NZME, we have a presence across all the communities that have been affected, with many of our staff, our customers, our readers and our listeners living in or having loved ones in those areas. 

“I know everyone across NZME will be getting right behind this cause, promoting and supporting it however we can, to ensure we raise as much money as possible for those in need,” Boggs added.

NZME managing editor Shayne Currie said: “Through our digital, print and radio channels, we are encouraging our audience to donate. Big or small, every donation helps.”

Free ads

The move comes on the heels of NZME providing $1 million in free advertising to businesses affected by the Auckland anniversary weekend floods in late January. 

The news publisher and radio group made free ads available across its print, audio and digital platforms, including BusinessDesk.

The advertising funds are being allocated to support businesses and advertise products to help those in need. Campaigns valued up to $5,000 are available for businesses, and more than 50 companies have claimed free advertising so far. The programme, initially meant to last until the end of February, has been extended to the end of March in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, NZME confirmed.

NZME has also printed and distributed a special Hawke's Bay Today community newspaper to assist the severely impacted North Island region. More than 20,000 newspapers have been printed and will be given away for free.

The special edition paper will feature local news and need-to-know information supplied by Civil Defence, District Councils and local public health organisations.

Fellow newspaper group Stuff has also launched a major effort to raise funds for those impacted by the cyclone.

Stuff has raised more than $1.4m through its Cyclone Gabrielle Community Support drive, with a $2m fundraising target. The funds will go to the Red Cross and Mayoral Relief Funds in areas where a state of emergency has been declared. Money will support local communities, families and community organisations and marae.