14 Nov 2017

Half a million to fix quake-damaged farm

7:45 pm on 14 November 2017

A sheep and beef farmer in North Canterbury says she's spent more than half a million dollars repairing damage caused by the Kaikōura earthquake.

Rebekah Kelly and her daughter Victoria.

Rebekah Kelly and her daughter Victoria. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

Today marks one year since the area was rocked by the 7.8 magnitude quake.

It caused extensive land damage to some farms in the Hurunui, Marlborough and Kaikoura districts, with some farmers no longer being able to graze stock in places.

On Rebekah Kelly's farm near Waiau, there was significant damage to their woodshed, fences, water tanks and land.

Leaving the farm, which has been in her family for nearly a century, had initially crossed her mind, she said.

Damage to the Kellys' 2000ha sheep and beef farm.

Damage to the Kellys' 2000ha sheep and beef farm. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

"Early on in those first couple weeks, when we kept having those aftershocks there were thoughts about, 'do I actually want to still be living here?' but I thought, Australia has snakes ... and this is the place that we call home, so we'll stick around."

She said she was still waiting for her insurance claim to be processed but even then she had to fork out for much of the repairs.

"Most of the water infrastructure, all of the fencing, all of the tracks, none of that's covered by insurance so we would have spent upwards of half a million dollars of our own money repairing, that's on top of three years of drought where you haven't made a whole lot of money."

A sheep and beef farmer based off the Inland Road, south of Kaikōura, Henry Pinckney, said the damage to his land was still causing headaches.

"A year on, we've still got hangovers from it, we're still getting slips taking out fencing."

"But we have got the farm functioning again. Thousands of hours of work - diggers and bulldozers - to get there but I suppose we have ongoing work and it's going to take a few years to get over that stuff.

"The housing is another issue that needs to be addressed, we've got a warm, safe house but we've got to go through the insurance process and all that as well."

Henry Pinckney said he was surprised by how long the insurance process was taking.

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Henry Pinckney on his quake-damaged land. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

"It is a bit frustrating, I know they have a big workload, but I would have thought things would have moved a bit faster than they have."

Mr Pinckney was not alone, North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chair Doug Archbold said. He estimated more than 20 farmers affected by the quake were still waiting for their insurance claims to be settled.

"Certainly we are really concerned for some farmers where not only have they had land damage, but building damage to their houses.

"Some of those insurance claims are going to take some considerable time to settle and that is partly because insurance companies are a little weary of rebuilding or repairing where there are issues around land damage.

"There's lots of geotech reports, lots of engineering reports to come, so in some cases I would estimate that it would be a few years yet before they have their homesteads rebuilt."

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