The morning after the Kaikoura earthquake and with the daylight rendering up the raw destruction of farmland, NZ Young Farmer members sprang into action.
On the ground in the Tasman region members expressed sympathy with those farmers waking up to a whole new world and began to coordinate their response. For Regional Chairperson Sam Waugh it was a no-brainer. Helping your community in a time of need didn't need to be mulled over. Put simply, it was an instinctual reaction and one in which Young Farmer Clubs answered nationwide.
By lunchtime members had organised a helicopter to fly in with much needed diesel and dog food and then awaited instruction as to how theirskills could be best utilised. Offers of help and support were plentiful, but what was needed was a coordinated effort. Through industry relationships the organisation has built, Sam and the Tasman members knew if they were to be of any assistance they needed to work in with Federated Farmers.
So Young Farmers set about assisting Federated Farmers and added any offers of volunteer labour they had received to their list. Very early on Sam made it clear that Young Farmers role in the aftermath would be to provide moral and social relief and support. Everything else would be channelled through Federated Farmers and Beef and Lamb New Zealand.
That same direction saw Amuri Young Farmers visiting North Canterbury farmers in the week following the tumultous quake, not to drop supplies, but instead to listen and give people the chance to vent their frustrations or just share what they had been through. It was a simple but highly effective means of offering compassion and it spoke volumes for the young men and women prepared to go cold door knocking.
The region then set about providing some social relief by providing several community BBQs at Waiau where residents were still reeling from thousands of aftershocks and the uncertainty of what lay ahead. A relaxed environment, games and social chit chat were on offer as the sausages were cooked and this was followed up by a national appeal via Give a Little which saw over $20 000 raised for care packages to be distributed by the region at Christmas and again this Easter.
The care packages saw members from all over Tasman converge on the National Office of NZ Young Farmers at Templeton to assemble boxes, carefully packed with goodies, that were designed to bring comfort and a smile to families before Christmas.
With similar values, a group of Scottish Young Farmers in the country for a field tour also pitched in. Sam believes it's no one way street. "Helping in our community also pro-
vides really important development opportunities for members to learn and grow. It's vital that we play a part in helping our rural communities now and for their future."
Thousands of ordinary New Zealanders offered help in the aftermath of the quake and as Nadine Porter found out, NZ Young Farmers was right in the thick of it...
OTAGO/SOUTHLAND TAKE CHRISTMAS TO CANTERBURY
It was a big hearted response from the deep South and very much in the true spirit of NZ Young Farmers.. It was a night like no other and it showed the power of one when members of the Otago/Southland region came together and wore their heart on their sleeves in order to rally around those affected by the Kaikoura Earthquakes.
'Taking Christmas to Canterbury' became the mantra for Young Farmers when they set about hosting a quiz evening in Gore, with the hope of raising a small amount of cash to contribute to Federated Farmers and the Tasman Region. With an auction, door sales and raffles, and the charisma of Commonwealth Games 10 000m gold medallist Dick Tayler the evening proved to be a runaway success.
Mr Tayler kindly gave his services for the price of some home killed meat, and had the 100 plus audience enthralled during his presentation. His kindness was replicated by many local businesses, who were only too happy to chip in and donate items for the auction and their generosity was a massive boost to the cause. Peter Walsh and Associates Auctioneer Ethan Bloomfield ran the auction, while The Country radio show host Jamie Mackay, a local, compered the evening. The Gore Town and Country Club donated the venue as well as a percentage of the bar takings making the event an all round community effort.
Organiser Olivia Ross was thrilled with the whopping $12,000 that was raised, as was Tasman Regional Chairperson Sam Waugh who struggled to correctly voice his gratitude for what the Southern members of Young Farmers did to support Canterbury earthquake victims. "And some of them came up and lent a hand on farms as well. We can't thank them enough!"
Nadine has been an Agri-journalist working in print, radio and on television for 17 years. In between babies she also manufactured and developed Bull Rush Chocolates – a high end chocolate business that sold retail and wholesale nation-wide. A Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme scholar, she is now the Communications Manager for NZ Young Farmers and a director alongside her husband Tim on their 600 acre cropping and livestock farm in Mid Canterbury. Nadine is currently doing her Nuffield Scholarship and travelling the world.