For many of our farmers and communities in the North Island of New Zealand, the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle has been significant and widespread.
Our teams are working closely with our partners including the Rural Support Trust, New Zealand Food Network and Feed Out to assess what is needed.
To support farmers, we are working alongside local teams and agencies to ensure a coordinated response.
Our transport teams have been working around the clock to re-establish access to farms, and collections are now largely back on track, even though power has not returned everywhere. We have been helping to coordinate moving generators from farms that have power to others that don't.
Group Director of Farm Source Anne Douglas says it’s times like this that the collective strength of our Co-operative is really put into action, with many team members supporting farmers while also trying to manage personal impacts.
“We’ve heard so many stories of farmers helping other farmers, and whole communities pulling together. Some farms are working together to share generator equipment and utilise their milking sheds and infrastructure to help each other out. Any still struggling to get a generator can get in touch with our Farm Source team who will try to locate one for them” says Anne.
Farmers across the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne regions are among the hardest hit.
“Our people have been able to access some of these cut-off areas by helicopter to provide provisional supplies, assess the damage and understand the immediate needs of these farmers.”
But there’s also the mental toll that the cyclone has had. We’ve been encouraging farmers to get in touch with our partners the Rural Support Trust if they feel like they’re struggling.
Our Farm Source team have set up an easy way for our farmers, Farm Source customers and our employees to support the Rural Support Trust (RST) and Hawkes Bay Disaster Relief - either in one of our stores, online via our Farm Source Rewards Shop or directly to RST and Hawkes Bay Disaster Relief.
During the Auckland floods, the Co-op donated an estimated 1 million servings of dairy products to NZFN.
To aid impacted communities, the immediate focus has been to put food in the hands of those who need it most.
The equivalent of 300,000 dairy servings has been donated so far, and Community Engagement Teams are working with teams on the ground to get support where needed in the short and long term.
“We have worked with the New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) and Civil Defence to get a variety of dairy out to communities. Anchor milk powder & Anchor UHT milk has been delivered to the New Zealand Food Network, with further mixed dairy due to arrive soon” says Community Engagement & Social Investment Manager, Shaheen Junge.
Our Hapori team have been providing product donations, distributed via local iwi trusts and supporting whānau in various local communities, including Port Waikato, Coromandel and Hauraki. Fonterra teams have also been volunteering through Fire & Emergency NZ & other local community organisations.