Support and advice during flooding events


Cyclone Gabrielle Resources & Information

  • Key Information - Recovery - This website provides the most up-to-date information for farmers, growers, rural businesses, and whenua Māori landowners to help you deal with the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is meeting regularly with the sector to focus on the support required for farmers and growers.
  • MPI Farmer and Grower Recovery Grants 2023 -  Applications for the grants for farmers and growers to undertake urgent work, including fencing, and clearing silt to save trees and vines, closed on the 3rd April 2023. A total of $74 million has been allocated towards these grants, with almost 6,000 appplications recieved.
  • National Feed Coordination Service This Service has been activated by the MPI to support farmers sourcing feed, priority areas are those affected by recent flooding and drought conditions, Federated Farmers are contracted to deliver this service.
  • Volunteer Registration - Farmy Army This survey is design to collect volunteer information to be used to assist in the recovery from this event . This is being managed by Federated Farmers
  • Register for Help - Farmy Army- Registration for assistance needed by a farmer or grower. If you are ready for assistance from volunteer help on farm - please register your needs. This is being managed by Federated Farmers
  • Donate Now - Rural Support Trust National Office Givealittle Page - Monetary donations are the most useful way to support affected rural communities as it means organisations can provide what is really needed to those affected. Money donated via this page will go DIRECTLY to farmers and growers when it is required.
  • DairyNZ Advice, tools and recourses for dealing a cyclone response and recovery.
  • Beef & Lamb NZ - information for farmers.
  • Horticulture NZ Information for growers affected by Cycle Gabrielle - Grower Support
  • NZ Apples & Pears - Resource Finder - Supporting growers recovery
  • Apiculture NZ update and information for beekeepers

Dealing with Floods

A flood can have devastating effects on a food and fibre business, affecting livestock, land, and buildings. The best way to minimise damage is to be prepared. 


    Immediate actions

    • Ensure the safety of family and staff
    • Move stock to safety, shelter and water and make sure they can't wander. Are the electric fences working?
    • Check power and phones. Report outages
    • Check dogs, poultry and pets
    • Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?
    • Check buildings at risk, feed stacks. Move equipment and feed to higher ground.
    • Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention.

Calf and Cow Welfare During Calving

It is highly likely more cows will calve early. Ensure regular calf pick up can be achieved where practically possible. Keep up regular observation of cows and spot abnormal behaviour that can be a sign of metabolic disorders. 

Try to supplement post calving (colostrum cows) with calcium. Ground limeflour can be mixed in with feed and fed in-shed, or made into a slurry with molasses and poured onto bales. Read more.

Transporting stock

Cows being fit for transport and correct supplementation will be critical. Refer to the transport guidelines here.

Standing cows off

  • If standing cows off on concrete for 12 hours + a day for 3 days in succession, cows should be given at least one full day on an alternate surface to rest.
  • To prevent mastitis in a standoff situation - regular application of teat spray, dry cows included. This might mean running the cows through the shed.


  • Many farmers need alternative grazing for their young stock.
  • Ring the Feed Coordination and Feed Planning Service on 0800 327 646 for requests and offers of feed and grazing, and feed budgeting advice.
  • Cows producing 1.6kgMS require a diet with 18% protein (higher if producing more)
  • If no grass is available you cannot feed cows 100% PKE in early lactation - but can feed up to 7kg PKE as long as they have effective fibre from silage.

Feeding silted pasture

  • Silt can stop rumen function and may contain pathogens such as lepto, neospora or BVD that have been washed in from another site upstream.
  • Graze silted pasture with dry cows for just 2-3 hours at a time. Follow up with quality unsilted feed.

What happens to farmland flooded by seawater?

There are things you can do if your property gets flooded with seawater. Find out about effects on soil and what you can do for your land and animals.

For more information go to MPI's website - click here.

During and after a flood

Safety first

  • Don't put yourself at risk from contaminated water, damaged roads, or landslides and other hazards.
  • Look for and report broken power lines to your electricity provider. Treat all lines as live. 
  • Trees may be unstable due to saturated ground and high winds. 
  • Be conscious of security. Lock your car and house. Report suspicious activity to police.

Health and wellbeing

  • Throw away food and water that has been contaminated by floodwater.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated.
  • For disposal of hazardous waste, including farm chemicals, call EnviroWaste on 0800 00 06 11.
  • Floodwaters can carry bugs that cause disease from the ground surface, septic tanks and sewerage systems. For more information click here
  • Food safety after a flood. Salvaging food items and utensils. For more inforamtion click here

Your property

  • Report flooded homes and any need for temporary accommodation to your local council.
  • Assess damage to water supply and reticulation systems. Which stock water troughs are contaminated with silt and will need cleaning?
  • Assess damage to access lanes, tracks, gateways, culverts, and fences. What flood debris needs to be cleared?
  • Assess damage to pastures and the depth and type of silt.
  • Assess available non-flooded pastures and other unaffected feed reserves.
  • Accept help when offered, and ask for it if you need it.
  • Restoring a house after flood damage - click here for more information


If your are unsure where to start, we can supply you with free and confidential support and connect you with the services you need, whether financial, business or health-related.

Call now 0800 787 254 (RURAL HELP)

Funding Application for Cyclone Gabrielle - Recovery in the Tairawhiti area

Rural Support Trust Tairawhiti Adverse Event

24 May 2023

Open to Sheep, Beef, Arable, Dairy, Pastoral, Horticulture and Lifestyle owners.

Applications for funding are now open until Tuesday 20 June, 4.00pm

Read more

Cyclone Gabrielle: Group of southern farmers help out in Hawke’s Bay

Otago Daily Times Story By Ben Tomsett (4th April 2023)

10 Apr 2023

A group farmers travelled to Hawke's Bay armed with a fleet of vehicles and fencing equipment to help get some the regions farms back on track.

Read more

Government approves $23 million boost to the cyclone grant for farmers and growers

The extra grant funding takes total primary sector cyclone recovery support to $78 million to date.

06 Apr 2023
The Government is providing a further $23 million to support more farmers, growers, whenua Māori owners, and rural communities as they recover from Cyclone Gabrielle, Agriculture Minister Damien...
Read more

New Coordinator joins the East Coast Rural Support Trust, representing Tairāwhiti.

Vicki Crosswell recently caught up with Murray Robertson from the Gisborne Herald about her new coordinator role.

23 Mar 2023
Vicki Crosswell has spent the past 11 years supporting the victims of crime and tragedy here and elsewhere. She is stepping into a role to assist farmers who need help in Tairāwhiti, as the new...
Read more

Teamwork helping farmers in the Tararua

Bush Telegraph By Dave Murdoch

19 Mar 2023
As recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle in Tararua slowly begins in the rural sector, practical measures and public generosity are combining to help ensure that when farmers are ready to begin the long...
Read more

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