Cyclone Gabrielle Response Fund


$175k of Farmlands Cyclone Gabrielle Response Fund already distributed to support hardest-hit communities

22 February 2023

 Farmlands’ Cyclone Response Fund, set up quickly following the devastation caused by Gabrielle, has already reached $200,000 – thanks to the support of Farmlands customers.

 The co-op – owned by 80,000 farmers, growers and Kiwis connected to the land – has already distributed $175,000 to help impacted communities in the North and on the East Coast. 

“Farmlands has an incredibly strong connection with these areas, and particularly Hawke’s Bay.  The Eskdale Hall in the Esk Valley (one of the hardest-hit regions) was where a group of farmers got together and created the beginnings of our co-op over 60 years ago,” says Tanya Houghton, CEO of Farmlands. 

“Words are simply inadequate to express the scale of the devastation in the region and the hardship being felt by our farmers, growers and rural communities. I’ve witnessed the bravery and resilience being shown across the region and the heart-warming community spirit during my time spent in the region over the last few days.”

As soon as the cyclone hit Aotearoa, offers of support and aroha from shareholders and customers started rolling into Farmlands. Farmlands set up its Cyclone Response Fund as quickly as it could to provide a simple way that those wanting to support the response effort could contribute. Farmlands can quickly and easily ensure some of the funds raised reach impacted communities through its stores as those in need come in and ask for help.

Farmlands launched the fund by committing to match contributions up to a total funds raised of $50,000. Thanks to the generosity of Farmlands customers, over $200,000 (including Farmlands’ contribution) has been raised in just a few days. Every dollar raised goes to supplying affected farmers and growers with the rural supplies and support they need. 

“I am amazed by how the farming community has reached out from all over Aotearoa to offer their support. Simply, they are saying ‘how can we help?’” says Tanya.

“The response and recovery from this enormous disaster is going to be felt for a very long time. This means that those impacted are going to continue to require support and assistance in a variety of ways for a long time. Please continue to contribute to the fund so we can continue to distribute the funds as needed. We’re committed to using funds raised quickly – so people get the help they need.”

$100,000 of the fund has already been allocated to local stores to help their customers with immediate need for products. A $50,000 contribution has also been made to the East Coast Rural Support Trust and a $25,000 contribution to the Northland Rural Support Trust to help support mental health and wellbeing during this extremely tough and stressful time. 

Farmlands is also looking after its team members in affected areas, with immediate relief payments and special paid leave to enable them to sort out the impact to their own properties and ensure their personal wellbeing. 

“Farmlands has 400 staff in areas impacted by the cyclone and our first priority has been looking after them,” adds Tanya.  “Each and every Farmlander is passionate about their connection to the land, and like many customers, our team has been impacted.  We’re making sure we support them, so they can continue to support the wider rural community across Aotearoa at this extremely challenging time.”