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16 November 2023


Surviving and thriving after the storm

A robust insurance policy, expert guidance and a positive response from loyal members has helped the historic Napier Golf Club to face its future with certainty following unprecedented storm damage.

The extreme weather experienced in Hawke’s Bay during Cyclone Gabrielle in February caused widespread flooding across the region, including to the 127 year old Napier Golf Club near Taradale.

As the floodwater waters receded, club members were horrified to see the extent of the damage to both clubrooms and course.

“Save the greens, save the golf course is what it came down to,” said Napier Golf Club President, Riki Mitchell. “It’s not until you see the damage with your own eyes that you understand what Mother Nature can do.”


View from the second floor of the clubhouse looking out towards the number 18 and 10 fairways.

Complex claim

As soon as the telephone connection was restored, the Club was straight on the phone to Gallagher Hawke’s Bay broker, Shelley Martin.

“The claim was a complex one. The Club had damage to buildings and infrastructure such as pumps and irrigation systems, as well as to vehicles. They had multiple trees down and silt up to five feet deep at some of the holes,” said Shelley.

“And if that wasn’t enough, a few weeks after the storm swept through, the clubhouse and ProShop were further damaged when looters took advantage of the abandoned buildings.”

Riki Mitchell said Shelley's good advice and quick action helped the claim to progress quickly. A claims assessor was appointed and two progress payments were made the week after lodging the claim. 

“The worst outcome for the Club would have been to lose membership because of the closure and ongoing remediation work. But thankfully, in addition to the rebuild commencing quickly, the club was able to offer a partial fee rebate to members, which was covered under their Gallagher SMARTpak insurance policy,” said Shelley.

“Gallagher SMARTpak gives clients comprehensive cover. It is designed for material damage and business interruption both of which the Napier Golf Club faced.

“The situation necessitated a team effort on our behalf,” continued Shelley. “We knew we had our clients who needed additional support during this difficult time and so we made sure that we had people throughout the region, including dedicated claims staff dealing solely with Gallagher clients in the Bay.” 


“Gallagher helped us navigate the process and made sure we were utilising what our policy entitled us to.”

Riki Mitchell, Club President – Napier Golf Club

Positive outcome

Riki Mitchell said the events of 2023 have changed the shape of the Club in many positive ways, with revitalised greens, new clubrooms and new plantings designed to bolster the integrity of the course for years to come.

Now with 12 holes playable and remediation work on the remaining six greens happening at pace, and the grand opening of the new clubhouse just a few weeks away, the Napier Golf Club’s focus is on the future.

“It has certainly been the roughest year for the club in some time. But thankfully everyone involved in getting the club up and running again has been so supportive.

“Gallagher helped us navigate the insurance claim process and made sure we were utilising what our policy entitled us to.

“We’ve had good, happy working relationships with the assessors, the construction companies and the team at Gallagher. Overall, it has been a great experience born out of one of the worst experiences.”

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