Deer farmers helping cyclone-affected deer farmers

Mar 16, 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle has been a record breaker for all the wrong reasons and its impact has been felt across the North Island. The tight-knit deer farming community has rallied to the cause to help their badly affected peers in areas impacted heavily last month.

An online auction, organised by NZDFA and using PGG Wrightson’s bidr system, raised over $117,000 for cyclone-affected deer farmers last night. This was part of the NZ Deer Farmers Association (NZDFA) and DINZ’s fundraising to help deer farmers recover.

The more than 50 auction items included stag semen, fencing gear, accommodation at Lake Ohau, venison, deer transport, pregnancy testing (for hinds!), CARLA testing, hinds, an elk bull and a fallow buck.

Lindsay Fung is encouraging deer farmers to contact their local DFA branch committee. “Keep an eye out for your neighbours and friends and make use of the Rural Support Trust, if needs be.”

“What an amazing auction last night! $117,180 in total raised, 126 registered buyers and 165 total attendees,” reports DINZ producer manager Lindsay Fung. “Thanks to the team at bidr for hosting the auction and the very generous donors and buyers that made this result possible.”

In addition, donations are being accepted into a DINZ bank account (02-0506-0234007, code Gabrielle).

“Hills and flats farms, rural and urban communities – none were spared, says Fung.

“Together with cash donations received there are significant funds to go towards recovery activities for our deer farmers.”

This includes financial assistance such as covering travel costs for fencing teams helping with replacement of boundary fencing. Deer fences are down throughout the worst hit regions, where drones have been deployed to locate escaped deer, particularly in Hawke’s Bay, but also Gisborne and Northland. There have also been many slips impacting rural roads and farm infrastructure. 

Hawke’s Bay NZDFA members Evan Potter, Richard Hilson, Karen Middelberg and Matt Gibson have coordinated services and help for those who needed it. Deer farmers have also been involved in flying in supplies, including generators, for the worst affected. 

Recovering from the cyclone will take many months (or even years for some), notes Fung. 

Deer farmers have been putting on a brave face. The latest edition of Deer Industry News (March-May 2023), due out in early April, relates Evan and Linda Potter’s start on the journey, “one bite at a time.”

Fung is encouraging all impacted deer farmers to contact their local NZDFA Branch committee. “They may be able to provide support or advice and sometimes even feet on the ground to help out. Equally importantly, they can also advise NZDFA of branch needs and help with the allocation for the recovery funds to where they will be best used.”  

Local NZDFA Branch chairs' contact details are here >>

“A month after the cyclone hit, the enormity of what is confronting farmers is well and truly hitting home – please keep an eye out for your neighbours and friends and make use of the Rural Support Trust (0800 787 254) if needs be,” he says.

MPI and Federated Farmers have restarted the Feed Coordination Service matching people with grazing or supplement feed for sale. Phone 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) or register online.

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