Media Release: Welcome support for Cyclone affected families

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) National Board Chair Sandra Matthews gathered a team of volunteers in Tairāwhiti last weekend to pack 287 support bags for distribution to farming families.

RWNZ Members from all over the country have donated much needed supplies for families and individuals who continue to be impacted by Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle and further recent heavy rainfalls.

“The support bags will be delivered to farming families across Tairāwhiti over the coming weeks.” says Sandra Matthews.

Home baking, hand knitted garments and beautiful quilts, made and sent with aroha by RWNZ Members, are amongst the items the recipients may find in their bags. Supplies of dry goods, non-perishable items and toiletries are also included as many rural people remain isolated due to damage to roads and bridges.

“Everything about this project is massive,” says Mrs Matthews.

“From the huge quantity of donated goods, to the big push to pack the bags, to the logistical exercise that it will take to deliver them over the upcoming weeks – it wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of so many people.”

In addition to the 287 support bags, a number of ‘shoeboxes’ packed with gifts, personal care items, food items and treats sent from around New Zealand would also be delivered.

“Packing and distributing the support bags is a collaborative effort and has brought together local friends from Rural Women New Zealand, Federated Farmers, Rural Support Trust, Beef + Lamb NZ, East’s at Makaraka, Ministry of Primary Industries, Trust Tairāwhiti and farmers,” says Mrs Matthews.

Many in this group are part of the Rural Coordination Group who have been actively working on behalf of the rural community since early January to connect and support farmers and their families in response to both Cyclones and the most recent flooding events.


To schedule an interview, please contact:

Gill Naylor

Rural Women New Zealand, National President

027 338 3089

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