Donated fencing materials are stacking up at Mike Butterick’s place near Masterton as people from all walks of life respond to the How We Roll in the ’Rapa initiative.
Mike is the Wairarapa Federated Farmers Meat & Wool Chairperson and like others in the province was keen to do what he could for fellow farmers pummelled by Cyclone Gabrielle.
“We’re very fortunate we’ve got an extremely good Rural Support Trust. So for Wairarapa Feds it was more about how we could do some heavy lifting on their behalf, so they could concentrate on people first and foremost.”
Using whatever means they could to spread the word, they gave willing donors three options: Drop off fencing material (Mike’s place is centrally located), buy it at your preferred merchandise store and they drop it off, or give money.
In just under three weeks, some 4,000 fence posts have been given, as well as strainers, waratahs, wire, netting and rails. Mike’s best guess is that it adds up to $60,000-$70,000 of equipment.
Re-post Marlborough came up with 2,500 of their re-purposed posts from vineyards, Mitchpine Levin sent over a truckload of new posts. And donations ranged right down to an elderly lady bringing in six waratahs and some pigtails. A donation of a tonne of wire was due the day after our chat with Mike.
“It’s been great,” Mike says. “The local merchandise stores and building supply companies have just been outstanding.”
He’s delighted with the response to How we Roll in the Rapa.
“For me it epitomises how provincial communities in New Zealand do roll.”
Wairarapa Federated Farmers are leaving it up to the Rural Support Trust to decide where it goes.
“They’re the guys on the ground assessing the need,” Mike says.
Tararua is rolling too
The Rural Support Trust and Federated Farmers Tararua are also reaching out to farmers in need. A survey is being distributed to rural letterboxes asking who needs cyclone recovery help, and whether the need is manpower, equipment/fencing gear – or both. Simon Hales has been appointed recovery co-ordinator.
Drop-off points for donated material have been set up near Dannevirke and at Pahiatua (email Feds Tararua Meat & Wool Chair Tim Hewitt, Hewitt-Balfour@xtra.co.nz for more info). Generous donations have already been received from Turton’s Farm Supplies and Mitchpine.