Government officials, local iwi, business, council and community leaders met to discuss a regional action plan.
Hundreds still can't move on, especially those in red-zoned areas who are waiting on council decisions.
There have been a number of resignations since Cyclone Gabrielle last year.
"The change has been forced upon us."
The biggest known loss of life was in Hawke's Bay.
The helicopter pilot says the rescue still brings tears to his eyes.
"The council is fighting us when they shouldn't be fighting us. We are paying their rates."
Wednesday marks one year since Cyclone Gabrielle lashed some East Coast communities.
Tiniroto residents are desperate to get their access back.