Free fencing from Rapid Relief Team charity

Throughout Hawke’s Bay, 622 farmers whose infrastructure was destroyed in Cyclone Gabrielle registered for free fencing.

The fencing is part of an initiative run by the Rapid Relief Team charity which hosts Farmers Community Connect (FCC) events; four have already been hosted in the Hawke’s Bay region.

These events are aimed at assisting farmers with fencing repairs; posts, battens, wire, permanent strainers, staples, and crimps make up the package of materials that each registered farmer receives.

Also available at the events are local support services including mental wellbeing, rural financial counselling, and veterinary support.

Tom Clouston, a farmer at one of the Hawke’s Bay events told the RRT team about having “quite a few slips”.

“We have probably got about 70 to 80 paddocks … I think we lost about 50 odd fence lines.”

250 farmers from Hastings and the surrounding areas received more than 20,000 fence posts and fencing supplies to help them get back on their feet after Cyclone Gabrielle.

RRT NZ director Danny Blampied told BayBuzz the main motivation for these events was inspired from “extremely successful” FCC events overseas.

“They began with our RRT Friends in Australia after some of the gruelling fires, droughts and plagues the Australian farmers endured,” he said.

“After Gabrielle the RRT New Zealand Directors felt this model could be replicated and we began with the first event in Hastings, it was such a success we are now onto our fifth event.

“The purpose is to bring the farmers together and encourage and give them hope after what is sometimes life changing circumstances. Many other service providers such as the Police, mental Health professionals and banks come together and provide the much-needed support and assurance, while RRT donates a significant fencing package and gives the famers a hearty feed.”

He said helping out farmers this way was the “least” they could do.

“It has been truly inspiring being involved and just seeing the emotions of these true New Zealand hero’s rise back from such harrowing situations, the token donation is the least we can do.”

He said RRT was a registered charity with donors from all walks of life.

“A large portion of donations come from members of the Plymouth Brethren Christan Church along with corporate donors including funds from government departments. At each of these events RRT has over 50 volunteers donating their time to serve the farmers on the day, and we value every dollar donated towards these farmers impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.”

RRT has already handed out $1.4 million in fencing materials to more than 1,000 farmers since the cyclone hit.

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *