Wairarapa farming community donates truckloads of feed to drought-stricken Hawke's Bay farms

Source: 1News

Wairarapa farmers have rallied together to help out their fellow farmers in drought-stricken Hawke's Bay, with farmers struggling to supply water and feed to their stock. 

Recognising the struggle was far from over for the farming community especially along the east coast of the North Island, with little to no rain to water their crops, the Rapa Feed Run was born.

An initiative set up by Wairarapa's Sophie Hansen and her husband one week ago, the Rapa Run has donated stock feed to farms in the Hawke's Bay this weekend.

Ms Hansen says they were quickly met with messages of support and offers to help out including trucking companies offering to carry the hay bales to the region, tractor donations to help lift the bales and Wairarapa farmers happy to spare a bale or two of their own.

She says it could have just as easily been them. 

"We were very lucky down in the Wairarapa, at the end of March we had 200 to 250 millimetres of rain. It got the grass growing for us, we're just lucky as we could’ve missed that rain and it could have gone to Hawke's Bay," says Ms Hansen.

"We still need to get through winter but we were thinking one night that we could spare two bales, what if our neighbours could spare a bale or hay two?"

With the help of the rural support trust to distribute the feed, the Rapa Run was able to get up and running quickly with the big donation delivered to the region by the truckload yesterday.

Amazed by the efforts of the wider farming community, Ms Hansen says they are still receiving donations of feed.

Local networks of farmers from Manawatu and Horowhenua have also established their own drive for hay to be delivered to the Hawke's Bay region in the future.

"It's so nice to see everyone in the farming community get together. They wanted to help but didn’t know how to individually, all the run has done is it has given them the opportunity," says Ms Hansen.

Donated bales were decorated with messages of support which she says will help remind those struggling that there are people out there who are happy to help them get through the tough times.

"There are some beautiful messages on the bales... we know some of these bales won't be set up over weeks but months. So a farmer outside in the middle of winter can open it up and remember that it signifies someone else is there for them and they can get through this."

She says some farmers have been moved to tears by the donations from the wider farming community, thankful for their generosity.

Currently, there aren't any more plans for a huge convoy of trucks like yesterday but Ms Hansen says they are still collecting hay with 30 to 40 bales collected last night.

By Brooke Hunter, 1 NEWS Digital Producer