February 16, 2023
Mental strain as paddocks washed away
A Whangara farmer says Te Tairawhiti feels like Ground Zero after four devastating weather events in less than a year.
The East Coast is cut off after Cyclone Gabrielle brought slips and flooding and cut power to the region.
Gisborne-Wairoa Federated Farmers president Toby Williams says some farmers are close to breaking point.
“The mental side of things is actually probably gonna be bigger than the land damage. You know, and they’re sort of dragging themselves around – and now it’s going to be even worse. So infrastructure’s gone. It’s bridges, it’s roads, all of our communications, our power. Some of these guys are going to be months, maybe never get their power properly reconnected again – have to have permanent generators, things like that, so it’s going to be very significant,” he says.
Mr Williams says the heavily-Maori communities in Te tairawhiti are extraordinarily resilient and supportive – but the constant weather extremes are taking their toll.