The effects of Cyclone Gabrielle will be felt for years to come in Gisborne and the Hawkes Bay. The challenge is communicating that experience to those living under clearer skies. On behalf of a client, Blackland Consultant Fiann worked in the bay during the aftermath.
“It’s rough. Google Maps refuses to plan your route, closures for road works are announced through word of mouth, and it’s common to drive for two hours to your destination only to be stopped just short by a washed-out bridge.
“We all saw photos and heard stories, but you just can’t comprehend it until slips and road closures have you reworking your plans for the day every ten minutes.”
Fiann says the work illustrated the core challenge of communications; persuading an audience that is unfamiliar with a subject.
“People in flood hit areas are still dealing with extraordinary difficulties. Some have wrecked homes, but for many more even going to the dairy for milk is a mission. How do you communicate that to people reading the news in the comfort of their homes?
“I’ve seen that although there is a limit to what communications can do to close the gap between perspectives, the key is sparking empathy by showing experiences people can relate to.”