Hastings marae could be asked to formerly sign a partnership acknowledging their role as welfare centres taking care of people in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake or tsunami.
Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management controller Ian Macdonald's presentation to the Hastings District Council's Maori Joint Committee acknowledged marae as an important part of the community's readiness and recovery in disaster situations.
He said while marae would answer to the call of an emergency in most cases by default, it had been done "a little bit ad-hoc" in the past.
"The issue with using marae is around the cost of reimbursement. Those costs are met by central Government and we have to claim for that."
Mr Macdonald said there was no ball park figure to show the cost welfare centres incurred during emergencies.
"It depends on the situation and that's part of the problem. It could be the costs around feeding people at a marae, accommodating people, the cost of power. You can't really put a dollar cost to it."
Mr Macdonald said he believed most of the welfare centres in Wairoa were marae but every area in the region was slightly different.
"In Wairoa there is a very high Maori population and it is rural, that is the way they operate whereas in Napier it is more of an urban population."
Hastings had a mix of urban and rural areas with marae in both. In total there were about 20 marae in the district.
"Welfare centres are also in traditional places like schools and community halls but they are also at marae as well."
Committee members wanted to know why emergency management plans and alerts were different in some parts of the region.
Mr Macdonald said his office was continuing its work to bring all of the council's emergency management staff under the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management group.
"Wairoa and Central Hawke's Bay have agreed and we are just working on a memorandum of understanding with Hastings.
"Napier is a bit different. They do some work for us and some for Napier City Council."
Mr Macdonald said he had nine staff across the region and a review underway would determine if any additional people would be needed.