There were plenty of gumboots at the Patetonga Hall in the Hauraki Plains last Friday, as support agencies and flood-affected farmers came together to discuss progress following the recent wet weather.
After heavy rain fell on already saturated ground the Waihou and Piako Rivers reached record height levels in the eastern Waikato on Saturday April 15 and overtopped stopbanks in some areas, causing ponding that is expected to take a few more days to drain.
Spilling water to ponding areas is how the flood management scheme in the area is designed to operate.
The meeting was organised by the Rural Support Trust and attended by a large number of agencies, including Dairy NZ, Federated Farmers and Fonterra.
Chairman of the Waikato-Hauraki-Coromandel arm of the Rural Support Trust, Neil Bateup, said it was about getting people together and giving them the opportunity to speak to professionals who could answer some of their questions and offer support.
Hauraki District deputy mayor Toby Adams, councillors, and council staff were also in attendance.
“It’s great to see everyone coming together to support their neighbours and talk to agencies that can help,” Mr Adams said.
“We’re here to advocate on your behalf. We understand there will be an ongoing recovery period for many, and we urge anyone with any concerns to ask for help.”
Federated Farmers Waikato president Chris Lewis is also urging affected farmers to ask for help.
“In early 2000 I suffered serious flooding on a previous farm and the back-up from family, friends and neighbours was what made life bearable at the time,” he said. “There will be farmers who have been running only on adrenaline for the last few days and that runs out.
Getting your farm back to the way it was just a week or two ago can be emotionally draining and if you’re feeling it – reach out,” he said.
Chris, who farms an hour’s drive away from the Hauraki Plains farmers now battling floodwater, said 65 per cent of the usual annual rainfall had been dumped on his property in the last three weeks.
Source: NZ Herald