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Clean-up a team effort

Workers clearing debris from the fence line on Pete Smith’s Martinborough farm. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

By Jake Beleski

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Some of the Wairarapa United squad swapped football boots for gumboots yesterday to help clean up debris from a Martinborough farm.

The team are enjoying a stellar season on the football field, but they took some time out from preparing for this weekend’s Central League match to do their part for the community.

Pete Smith’s farm was badly affected by last week’s wild weather, with some parts under 5 metres of water.

Over 120 hectares were under water in total, which is about 40 per cent of the farm.

Mr Smith is good friends with United coach Phil Keinzley, who was more than happy to bring some of his squad members, as well as workers from Keinzley Agvet, to help with yesterday’s clean-up.

Mr Smith has lived on the farm for about 20 years, and said it was the biggest flood he had seen for a long time.

Some parts of the farm were still feeling the effects of the flooding on Wednesday. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

“The thing about this one was it was up for so long . . . normally it just goes up and down.

“But when it’s up so high, over 5m for over 24 hours, and it’s covering the trees and things, it makes a hell of a mess.”

Mr Smith had been a client of Mr Keinzley’s the whole time he had lived at the property, and said he had always been a “good mate”.

“He volunteered to come and help.

“He’s actually been pestering me for about two years to come and give us a hand whenever something like this happens.”

The workers spent the day walking along the fence line moving logs and other debris out of the way, so fences could be restored.

Mr Smith said the work they completed in the first two hours would have taken him over two weeks to complete himself.

“I can’t believe how much work they got through.

“It’s great because if you don’t do that before the next flood it’s so much worse.”

The Greater Wellington Regional Council had kept the farmers up to date with weather warnings leading into last week’s flooding, allowing farmers to move livestock and prepare for the battering.

Mr Keinzley said he had a soft spot for farmers after Mr Smith went through an ordeal years ago.

“There was a flood and the water rose so fast that Pete lost his quad bike, and had to make a decision to try and save his livestock or look after himself.

“He swum out to save the livestock and helped them to safety.”

All farmers had been affected by the flooding, and the team was simply doing their part to help, he said.

“If we can help one farmer, hopefully it encourages others to get out and do the same.”

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