Cyclone Gabrielle Update – Support to Farmers

Published 28 Feb 2023

The farming industry within the Tararua District has been hit hard by Cyclone Gabrielle.  Some farms have been underwater and those where the water has receded now lie under a layer of silt. There are still many issues with access, with many slips closing farm tracks. Farmers are still trying to assess the damage, this includes inspecting kilometres of fencing and riverways.

Farmers are anxious to get their farms operational again but there is much work to do before this can happen and much support is needed.  There are a number of financial and wellbeing support services now available that we encourage the farming community to seek out.

Locations farmers may find assistance

Rural Support Trust: The Rural Support Trust (RST) are rural people with wide range of experience and knowledge in dealing with challenging situations, such as civil defence emergencies.  The RST is directly linked into local civil defence and can provide famers with information and assistance in getting on-going help.  Find out more by calling the RST on: 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) or visiting their website at:

Rural Support Trust - Farm Business Advice Support Fund: This is an initiative funded by banks and the government offering support for farmers and growers struggling with business debt.

The government has allocated $200,000 for the Farm Business Advice Support Fund, which is managed by Rural Support Trusts. For a qualifying farmer or grower, the Fund will provide up to $6,000 to pay for financial or business advice from an independent consultant.

The National Council of Rural Support Trusts and New Zealand Bankers’ Association signed the agreement for the Fund back in 2020. Under the agreement, the RSTs will provide up to $3000, depending on an assessment of need, and the relevant bank will match that dollar for dollar.

Rural Support Trusts will take an application from, or on behalf of, a farmer or grower who might qualify for assistance. The consultant will provide a report, which will be given to the farmer or grower and their bank. This initiative involves ASB, ANZ, BNZ, Heartland Bank, Rabobank, SBS Bank, TSB and Westpac.

For more information call 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Federated Farmers - Feed coordination service: Federated Farmers have restarted the national Feed Coordination Service. The Service helps match people with grazing or supplementary feed for sale with those who need it. For more information call : 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) or register online at the following links:

Work and Income: Work and Income have a number of ways in which to help with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle. If you have been affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, you may be able to get a Civil Defence Payment.  To apply call 0800 400 100 (7am to 5pm) or go to the Work and Income website.

Temporary Accommodation Services (TAS): TAS supports affected households to find temporary accommodation while their home is being repaired, rebuilt or they are unable to return to access their home. Find out more at: .
The application form for this service can be found at:

Farmer and grower recovery grants: The Government is providing $25 million to help farmers, growers, and whenua Māori landowners recover from Cyclone Gabrielle. Grants for pastoral and arable farmers/growers of up to $10,000 to help initial recovery on-farm, such as repairs to water infrastructure for stock and fencing. Learn more here.

Mayoral Relief Fund: The Mayoral Relief Fund is open for donations to help support Tararua communities find their feet after the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. For more details please go to our website here.
Information on how to apply for support from this fund will become available soon.

Mental Health Support: 1737 is New Zealand’s national mental health & addictions helpline number. Free call or text 1737 any time to talk with a trained counsellor. It’s completely free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rural Support Trust is also available on 0800 787 254.

Welfare support is available: If you have been affected by the cyclone and need support, please contact us on 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110 and let us know how we can help.