Our People

Sandy Scarrow - ChairpersonSandy Scarrow


Sandy Scarrow is the Shareholder and Managing Director of Fruition Horticulture. She has a Bachelor of Horticultural Science, Diploma in Business and Administration (Management), Certificate in Adult Education and Training (Level 5) and has been a Horticultural consultant since 1987. Sandy also owns a kiwifruit orchard

Pat Kilgraff - FacilitatorPat Kilgarriff


The Trust's Facilitator Pat Kilgarriff has a bachelor's degree in Agriculture Science and worked for MAF as a farm consultant for nearly 30 years. He has since worked in private consultancy. Pat has proven skills in farm management and communications.

Igor Gerritsen - Regional Leader/FacilitatorIgor Gerritsen

Regional Leader/Facilitator

Igor has been a pastor in Te Puke for 5 years where he was involved in the recovery phase of the kiwifruit sector. Before that Igor owned a financial planning business for 9 years and worked in the NZ Police. Igor has a degree in pastoral ministries and a diploma in Financial Planning. He has proven skills in People Management, Sales, Leadership and personal support in times of crisis.

Debbie Oakley - FacilitatorDebbie Oakley


Debbie Oakley has a Diploma in Rural Studies and is retired from 35 years in banking; 10 years Rural Banking with Rabobank in Rotorua and Te Puke and 25 years Retail Banking including Branch Manager with Westpac/Trust Bank. Debbie has ownership in business and orchards in the Kiwifruit sector and is currently a member of the NZ Kiwifruit Growers Forum. She has proven skills in People management, Financial Management, Administration and technical skills, Sales and negotiation skills.

Helen Schweizer - FacilitatorHelen Schweizer


Helen Schweizer trained as a registered nurse then went on to manage a large dairy farm - milking, rearing calves and administration. Helen has been in the Dairy Industry for 25 years and currently owns a dairy farm in South Waikato farmed with a Sharemilker on. Helen has a Diploma in Homeopathy and is currently studying as a Contact Care Practitioner. She has been involved in local support groups with her strengths in assisting those with grief, loss and self-care at times of crises.

Tim Bernau

Tim Bernau


Tim is a Registered Valuer with a financial advocacy and kiwifruit orchardist background.  With 16 years involvement in rural banking, he is now active in farm business administration and financial management.

Patrick Andrew

Patrick Andrew


Patrick has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science Degree and previously worked for 30 years in rural banking and finance, including private consultancy and valuation.  He is skilled in planning, negotiation and strategy.

Malcolm Fluker

Malcolm Fluker


Malcolm has a diploma in Valuation and Farm Management and previously worked for 38 years in rural banking.  He has a wide knowledge of sheep, beef and dairy farming and strong relationship skills.  He has helped many farmers through tough times.

Kim Cawte - Secretary/TreasurerKim Cawte


Kim Cawte is a farmer's daughter, has been Secretary/Treasurer for the Te Puke A&P Show for 17 years, Te Puke Vet Service for 14 years and Office Manager for Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers for 12 years, so has a wide network within the farming industry.

News & Alerts

Weather warning - during and after snowstorms

As at 21 July 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Author: Terri Anderson

After snow and ice 

It's all hands on deck!

  • Call your local Rural Support Trust for free confidential conversations on 0800 787 254
  • Look after yourself, your family, workers and neighbours. Ask for help and accept it when offered.
  • Ensure stock and domestic animals have water, food, shelter, and are secure.
  • Ensure that all stock injuries are promptly attended too, after human needs are met
  • Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Treat all lines as live.

Keeping on after a snowstorm

MPI has animal welfare recommendations here (pdf)

Beef+Lamb and Dairy NZ provide some good advice on their websites.



Some handy tips from farmers who have been there, done that...

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Update: Bay of Plenty Primary Sector Recovery Grant closed

As at 10 July 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

Author: Terri Anderson

The Bay of Plenty Primary Sector Flood Recovery Grant applications have now closed and all grants – of either $2000, $5000 or $10,000 - have been distributed.

Fully completed applications that met the eligibility criteria were assessed by a Technical Panel. The technical panel made recommendations to the final Assessment Panel, who made the final grant decisions.

All assistance for flood-affected people and businesses is listed on Whakatāne District Council’s website: www.whakatane.govt.nz/residents/whakatane-district-recovery-project/recovery-support-and-funding-assistance.

To talk about your options including from Work and Income and Inland Revenue, as well as other forms of support, please talk to your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787254 (0800 RURAL HELP). 

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Categories: National, Bay of Plenty


Updates for farmers affected by flooding and storms in April

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Author: Terri Anderson

What's happening in the rural sector?

Discussions are continuing with local stakeholders and Government to identify other ways to help flood-affected Bay of Plenty farmers recover from the April storms.

While farmers in the region are no stranger to floods, the combined effects of the April storms was beyond normal planning for heavy rain and flooding in many areas.

This is why the Minister for Primary Industries classified it as a medium-scale event. This classification means that additional recovery assistance measures were made available directly following the storms, including:

  • Enhanced Task Force Green teams to help with cleanup
  • Funding for the Rural Support Trust to coordinate recovery activities and events
  • Rural Assistance Payments for extreme hardship
  • Tax flexibility.

Financial support available to all New Zealanders is also available, and farmers whose incomes have changed are urged to talk to Work and Income about their options.

This flyer has information about other support available.

Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) for a free and confidential chat about your needs or someone you are concerned about.

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Ex-Cyclone Donna brings heavy rain warnings

Update as at 2pm, 12 May 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Author: Terri Anderson

Ex-Cyclone Donna is bringing heavy rain. Keep an eye on the forecast and, if you are prone to flooding, enact your plans.  Whakatane, Rangitaiki, and Tarawera Rivers have reached level 1 and farmers are encouraged to move stock to higher ground.

MPI is working with local stakeholders to monitor the impacts of Ex-Cyclone Donna as the storm hits New Zealand. Farmers and smallholding owners are encouraged to follow their procedures in case of possible flooding on aready saturated ground.

If a flood is likely:

The safety of you, your family, and workers comes first. If your property is at risk from flooding, enact your plans:

  • Moving stock and feed to higher ground
  • Making sure your stock has shelter and water, and can't wander
  • Safely storing or tying down anything that might blow away.
  • Your battery-powered radio at the ready and listening for updates
  • Your smartphone charged up
  • Checking power and phones. Reporting outages. Treating all lines as live.
  • Checking dogs, poultry and pets.
  • Checking on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?
  • Using generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.

General information on managing through flooding is here: http://www.getthru.govt.nz/disasters/flood

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