More than 630 bales of hay, straw and baleage were sent in from about 100 farms across the region. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

There were a few “dusty eyes” as eight trucks laden with donated feed from Wairarapa farmers and rural residents made their way to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay over the weekend.

Part of the Rapa Feed Run convoy, organiser Sophie Hansen said it had been a “whirlwind week” since they first appealed to Wairarapa people for help.

More than 630 bales of hay, straw, and baleage were sent in from about 100 farms across the region, and more was coming in, she said.

“We thought we might get one or two truckloads.

“We sent eight on Saturday and another one yesterday.

“We have another two, minimum, going up this week as well.”

She said the whole rural community had come together for the initiative.

“It’s been amazing. Everyone from contractors helping load bales to trucking companies, livestock agents, property agents and lifestylers.”

Hansen said she was grateful for the community’s support, especially Reisima Haulage, Martinborough Transport, and Williams Trucking.

Dozens of farmers who had donated to the cause lined parts of the main road with signs to thank the drivers, who were putting in their time for free and only charged a small amount to cover road costs.

“For them, that’s a three-and-a-half hour drive up, picking up the baleage and driving back – so a good 12 hours all up,” Hansen said.

“All the drivers said as soon as they turned off on to SH50 that’s when they started noticing people.

“A few farmers on SH2 who had donated feed came out to watch their feed go off.

“A few of the truck drivers said there was a lot of dust on the road in their eyes.”

Her husband Daniel, who led the convoy said it was “very humbling” to have people come up to them to say thank you.

“That’s not even the people who are receiving the people, just those who were thankful for what was being done.”

The area where the trucks first arrived, and one of those hardest hit by the drought, was where he grew up.

Hansen said it had been a “family activity” for many, with farmers encouraged to write words of comfort and support on the bales.

“One farmer has put a lot of thought and effort into their message. It’s really beautiful.”

She said as long as donations kept coming in, they would make sure they got them to Hawke’s Bay.

“All the people we spoke to said they wanted to help, but it’s hard when you’re just one person to know how to.

“All we’ve really done is provide a platform.”



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