Pictures and Updates from the Crisis Support© Roadie to Hawkes Bay, March 2023, After Cyclone Gabrielle, NZ

Updates from the Crisis Support© Roadie to Hawkes Bay, March 2023, After Cyclone Gabrielle, NZ

What an amazing few weeks it has been for young equestrian sisters, Gaia Aplin (18 years old) and Shanti Aplin (15 years old), who have so far made up and handed out just over 2000 Crisis Support© blends to help people and animals in distress after Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc throughout New Zealand this year on 12th February 2023.

If you have been following the story, you will know that on Friday the 3rd of March, Gaia and Shanti, together with their mum Anna Gentry, a trauma specialist and First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® registered practitioner and tutor, set off in their horse truck from Tutukaka Coast, Whangarei down to the Hawkes Bay area to personally distribute Crisis Support© blends to the affected communities.

Today I am so very pleased to share some really inspiring and heart-warming news about their journey along with photos and memorable moments which are described in their own words.

"2,016 Crisis Support© blends have so far been handed directly to affected people and their families, as well as via local community hubs, such as:

  • Esk Valley 'Valley D'vine' support hub
  • Waiohiki, Omahu and other local marae
  • Volunteer helpers on the ground assisting those affected
  • Animal healers working directly with horses and dogs and their affected owners and families
  • Dislocated areas in Dartmoor, Rissington, Tutira
  • Community hubs in Dartmoor and Bayview, Tararua, Wairoa and Gisborne

We have equipped counsellors, homeopaths, naturopaths osteopaths, energy healers, massage therapists, contact care and Bowen specialists with the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® Crisis Support© blends to assist the support work they are offering the affected people and animals.” 

Anna Gentry

 I realised how unique the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® were. It felt really rewarding and empowering to be able to offer this kind of support to people. It was really eye-opening to see the physical scope of the disaster hit areas. There were heart breaking moments such as hearing the stories of the animals having no chance of survival and of people who lost absolutely everything. Crisis Support© blends provided a level of support that was not available in any other way.

Gaia Aplin

Timeline of the Crisis Support© Roadie to Hawkes Bay


Monday 20 February 2023:

How the journey began…

150 flower essence blends made by Shanti and Gaia organised to be sent via emergency helicopter

When the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle swept through the country, Gaia and her sister Shanti, knew that the essences could support people and animals in shock and distress and immediately started making up flower essence blends to help them. 

PHOTO: Gaia (right) and Shanti (left)



Wednesday 22 February 2023:

100 stock bottles of Crisis Support© donated to enable Gaia and Shanti to make and distribute more blends

Creator of First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand,® Franchelle Ofsoske-Wyber donated 100 x 10ml stock bottles of Crisis Support© (valued at $3300) to Gaia and Shanti’s initiative to enable them to make up 7000 x 25ml Crisis Support© flower essence blends.

PHOTO: 100 x 10ml stock bottles of Crisis Support© donated by Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber, the creator, leaving the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® office to go to Anna, Gaia and Shanti


First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® practitioners teaming up to help create Crisis Support© blends

Within 7 days, Gaia and Shanti had inspired their local community in the Tutukaka Coast.

Together with other First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® practitioners who stepped in to help, hundreds more blends were created, ready to be taken down to the Hawkes Bay. 

PHOTO: First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® practitioners Irene Dekker (right), Kate Hornblow (left) and Pauline Allan-Downs (middle) at Anna Gentry's helping to make up Crisis Support© Blend

Anna Gentry says: "Thanking the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® elves who came together today to help make up the Crisis Support© blends, ready to head down to Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Wairoa on our Crisis Support Roadie to the Hawkes Bay.

It takes teamwork and cooperation at its best and it's so wonderful to know that, in our First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® family, there are so many capable practitioners who willingly step forward to assist the greater good.

Thank you Irene Groeneveld Dekker, Pauline Allan-Downs, Kate Hornblow, Anais Schwarz-Hall and Natalie Harte for your service over these past few days. This would also not be possible without the support from so many of you, our friends and families who are donating financially to make it possible.

Every drop is literally making drops of Crisis Support© available to bring more light into our world right now. Together our collective future is a brighter place because of it."


Friday 3 March 2023:

Gaia, Shanti and Anna set off on the Crisis Support© Roadie to the Hawkes Bay

Leaving on Friday 5th March at 2am, Gaia, Shanti and their mum Anna, set off on the journey driving in their horse truck. They had to organise their personal lives on the run and dropped off 10 pet chickens with a friend, to be looked after while they were  away.

Their mobile phone was ringing off the hook with requests for help as word got out that they were bringing Crisis Support© blends down to the affected areas.

PHOTO: Boxes of Crisis Support© blends going into the horse truck to be distributed in the Hawkes Bay area by Gaia, Shanti and Anna


3-12 March 2023:

Gaia and Shanti post videos and stories about their travels and how they grew up, personally experiencing the benefits of using First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand®

PHOTO: Gaia and Shanti showing how to use flower essences

Gaia says: "We have grown up using First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® and I (Gaia) am a trained First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® practitioner as of last year. We are also lucky to have our mum's (Anna Gentry) guidance who is a trauma specialist working with First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand®."


Gaia and Shanti learn that people experience shock and trauma for different reasons and help older people who are feeling more vulnerable with Crisis Support©

“What we are learning. People get affected by events like Cyclone Gabrielle differently. For some, their whole lives are awash and  literally filled with mud, having lost everything including businesses and income, animals and all their possessions, for others, a power cut or the thought of potential evacuation can cause a sense of shock - particularly for older people who feel so vulnerable.

 The Crisis Support© blends are for all people and animals, no matter how ‘big’ the experience has been.

We notice many people comparing their loss to others who are worse off. But shock is shock and trauma is trauma so the First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® Crisis Support© Blends are for everyone affected even if you think your problem is only a minor one.

Today we were able to pass on the essences to Alina who has many elderly neighbours who are feeling less secure and less safe. She wants to help them find their balance again. Thankyou Alina for helping us by helping others.”

Gaia and Shanti Aplin

PHOTO: Alina with her dog


Distributing more blends thanks to connections made with Brenda, registered nurse and Kim Phelps of The Osteopathic Clinic in Dannevirke

PHOTOS: Shanti (second on the right) with Brenda and other helpers. Gaia and Shanti with Kim (middle).

Gaia and Shanti say: "Brenda found out about us through a friend of hers and reached out for the Tararua Districts needs.

Rural communities there have experienced unbelievable trauma and destruction. Brenda, a registered nurse bought us together with Kim Phelps, who has been an osteopath for many years and who understands the need for healing the shock and widespread trauma. We shared hot chocolates in his clinic behind the Cafe and left them with 88 Crisis Support© blends that they can distribute into these communities. We understand the need is far greater so we promised to return with more as our fundraising grows, to support our mission."


'Appearing like magic' to Jade at the fuel pump...

PHOTO: Anna Gentry (right) with Jade (left). 

Gaia and Shanti say: "As we left Danniverke to fill gas we met Jade at the fuel pump. He was returning a massive trailer of portaloos to Palmerston North. He had been in the Hawkes Bay as part of his work with Hirepool, supporting the response from day 1. Jade showed us how big his heart was. He shared how the trauma was so huge and how he was affected by it as he had to be so strong for the people in the floods. So over diesel-filling we learnt that he was from Whangarei. It is where we are from.

We gave him his own Crisis Support© blend and he just couldn't believe that we appeared to him like magic to give him something to ease the burden he was carrying from the work he was doing.

He said his mates were feeling the same, so we said we would find Hirepool and bring more to the boys. This amazing man then went inside and donated $50.00 to our initiative so we could reach more people. He said to make sure we got to Omahu Marae where he had been and the people were in so much need. Not only were their homes destroyed but also their urupa. We were so humbled by Jade's sharing and the way he gave back when we were wanting to just give. Our phone kept buzzing and mum said we needed to keep going."


Supplying Crisis Support© blends to counsellors through Greg and his restaurant Valley d' Vine on Linden Estate Winery in Esk Valley 

PHOTO: Gaia (left) and Shanti (right) with Greg (middle) at Greg's Valley d' Vine restaurant on Linden Estate Winery 

Gaia and Shanti say: "On our first full day in the Hawkes Bay we were taken out to Esk Valley, the area where houses were moved kilometres down the road and the most unreal sights became norm. Houses buried in silt, uprooted and twisted railway lines, cars in trees to name a few. Here we met Greg at his Valley d' Vine restaurant on Linden Estate Winery. Although his own land, buildings and business has been thrashed in the flood he has created a safe space for the community including providing counselling support, food, medical supplies and a place to connect and talk.

He is an amazing guy who we offered a good supply of the Crisis Support© blends to, so that the counsellors could offer them to those coming in the doors for a chat and catch up.

We hope the people of Eskdale find these helpful as they begin to find ways to move forward from where they are now."


Vicki Wilson, celebrated Equestrian, helps Gaia and Shanti get access to the most affected areas

“Vicki was an amazing host helping to link us with those affected, as well as with an animal healer helping those affected. She spent a day and took us directly into the most affected areas accessible. Through her, we met Greg (above) who is holding the hub space in Esk Valley.

Vicki’s property has had extensive grazing loss and damage to fencing, training tracks and infrastructure as well as many trees down. This puts pressure on the feeding and care needs for the horses, which are heightened due to pressure on the grazing systems. We assisted with the day to day care tasks of feeding, and general yard duties such as covering, cleaning yards etc, as well as some firewooding and clearing of  paddocks. 

Gaia and Shanti Aplin


Shovelling silt, distributing blends and much more in Esk Valley

Not only have these two young girls personally handed out hundreds of Crisis Support© blends, they have stopped on the side of the road to help people shovel silt from their houses, move damaged furniture to the roadside and help lost animals get to their homes.

PHOTO: Gaia (second on the right) and Shanti (first on the right) with a volunteer (first on the left), helping Nancy (second on the left) clear out her house from silt.

Gaia says: "Nancy and her family lost everything, their 's two-story family home got filled with silt to the  roof top. Nancy was so grateful to finally have a team of volunteers turn up almost two weeks on to shovel the mud and slush out.

She was so grateful for the Crisis Support© blends and really understood their use. She knew her young children were going to be in need of them also.

She wanted everyone helping her to have a blend as well, which was wise as the people offering a hand were witnessing so much loss and the work for them was hard going."


Senior Sergeant Steve Nicoll stops to take a photo with Gaia and Shanti the photo goes viral on Facebook!

PHOTO: Gaia, Shanti, Grayson, Nina, Kendra taking a photo with Manager of Youth and Communities in Hawke’s Bay Senior Sergeant Steve Nicoll. 

Senior Sergeant Steve Nicoll says: “I saw a group of young people, covered in mud, and pushing a wheelbarrow laden with tools. I stopped to speak with them and met Grayson, Nina, Kendra, Shanti and Gaia who were getting stuck in to the clean-up effort. The group had been due to attend the Horse of the Year show, which was cancelled due to Cyclone Gabrielle.

Most of them were not local, but after seeing everything that was happening in Hawke’s Bay they decided to travel down anyway to help out in any way they could. 

If I hadn’t have stopped to speak to them, they would have carried on without any credit for the amazing work they are doing. I’m glad that I did stop and I think they deserve to be recognised by the communities who may have no idea of what they are doing to help out."


Where to from here for Gaia, Shanti and the communities they are helping

This is just the beginning for Gaia, Shanti and Anna. They have teamed up with key figures in the community and have established excellent networks with other organisations and hub centres who are directly helping those affected.

This will enable more bottles of First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® Crisis Support© blends to continue to find their way to people and animals in need.

We have made many new friends and contacts with healers and helpers supporting their communities. We are now working to make up an additional 1,000 Crisis Support© blends for the East Coast, Gisborne Wauria and surrounding communities. These blends will be distributed via some of the connections we have made with people who work on the ground, while we were in Hawkes Bay.

Esk Valley is one of the substantially hit areas. They have asked for our continued support to offer Crisis Support© blends to all who come to the hub for ongoing use alongside the counsellors and support people available on a daily basis. They are also supporting many of the dislocated rural families and communities up and beyond their region.

Gaia and Shanti Aplin


The story of these two young girls is truly inspirational and it touches my heart deeply

I met Gaia and Shanti when they were babies and they have grown up as part of our First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® family.

In 2022, at the age of 18, Gaia became our youngest First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® practitioner.

During their travels down country, 15 year old Shanti became so inspired by the emotional support the Crisis Support© blends brought to people in need, that she has made an application to study with First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® to become a flower essence practitioner.

PHOTO: Shanti at Northland Show Hunter 


“It was an extremely eye opening trip. Hearing the stories of everyone we met and going through places that were destroyed made my heart break.

But at the same time, being part of the solution, and watching people coming from near and far to help, is something I hope I can see more of in my lifetime. I'll be forever grateful to have had this experience as I know it might not come again and it taught me a lot.”

Shanti Aplin

It is with absolute joy that I welcome 15 year old Shanti to First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® as our youngest student.


Honouring our First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand® Practitioners

Anna, Gaia and Shanti are a true inspiration.

I know that many of our practitioners in New Zealand and around the world are working in unique ways, to help, support and empower people in their communities where they can – and I honour and celebrate each and every one of them.

With many blessings,
Franchelle Ofsoské-Wyber and the team
First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand®

P.S. If you’d like to keep up to date with Gaia and Shanti’s mission you can follow their Facebook page Wild Kids - Wild Kais