Young farmers to the rescue in quake-hit communities

9:20 pm on 17 November 2016

A New Zealand farming group that has nearly 100,000 members on Facebook has leapt into action after Monday's earthquake.

NZ Farming volunteers help clear roads.

Members of Facebook group NZ Farming help clear blocked roads. Photo: Supplied

NZ Farming was started by 22-year-old Tyler Fifield and is now one of the country's largest farming communities.

Mr Fifield, who now works as a builder in Blenheim, said he and his friends loaded up building supplies first thing Monday morning and headed out to help repair homes and buildings.

NZ Farming on their way to rural  areas, (left to right) Josh Tomlinson-Nott, Michael Kerr, Tyler Fifield.

Left to right: Josh Tomlinson-Nott, Michael Kerr, Tyler Fifield Photo: Supplied

They soon realised that it was much worse than they thought and immediately put out the call to members for help.

The group has been collecting supplies and delivering boxes of non-perishable food and containers of drinking water to farms and houses as close to Kaikoura as they can get.

Mr Fifield said most places didn't have water as their concrete water tanks were damaged in the earthquake.

"Our focus over the next couple of days is going down and trying to get running water into these people's houses so they can start getting proper showers or flushing toilets.

"At the moment many people are just drinking water out of their swimming pools or a creek nearby, any water source they can find, because any water containment system they had has been damaged."

Mr Fifield said in some cases it was the simple things that farmers needed.

"They're like 'Oh nah we're all good we've got everything we need', then the more we got talking to them they conceded to the fact that perhaps they could do with a bit of this or 'Hey, have you got some teabags?' or 'You don't have any gingernuts in the back, do you? I'd love a good cuppa.'"

Packs of supplies for farmers.

The group has been collecting supplies and delivering them to rural households. Photo: Supplied

Having donated supplies on hand had been a huge help, Mr Fifield said.

"It just gave people that boost they're looking for. I had a friend message me and say 'Hey I'm overseas at the moment and my parents have a farm out there and are shook up, if you come across my mum can you give her a hug and just let her know I'm thinking of her'.

"It's just little heart-warming things like that that we've been able to offer people."

NZ Farming has set up a Givealittle page and is still collecting supplies through the Facebook page.

Mr Fifield said he had been asked by water and irrigation companies what his group needed, and where to send it.

"I've talked to water engineers, water filtration experts, people with pumps and other businesses. My plan is to have every house on the north side of Kaikoura hooked up to running water.

"A couple of irrigation businesses down here have said, 'If you need guys, if you need diggers, if you need fittings, hoses - tell us what you need and we'll run it out to ya - you can lead our crews into those affected areas and put them to work on what they need to be doing to help these people out./"

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