When the Bay of Plenty was hammered by storms in 2017, the local Rural Support Trust was a significant help to farming families, according to a recent survey.

The 2018 Rural Recovery Survey was commissioned by the Rural Support Trust, with the support of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, following the severe weather events of Cyclones Debbie and Cook in April 2017.

"Our team was kept busy during the storms and their aftermath as we supported rural people and their families," says chairman Miles Mander.

"It ranged from assisting the USAR efforts at the height of the storm and walking up driveways with the Red Cross to check on affected people to assisting with the farm clean-up, managing people's wellbeing, and helping our rural families get the resources they needed.


"The most common need was helping people work through what they needed to do. The floods were so severe that there was so much work, and it was just overwhelming for many.

"There were the logistics of working around road closures and flood waters, to people being displaced from their homes and then faced with a massive and lengthy clean up ahead of them.

"It was important that we at the Trust were able to help our rural people move into recovery mode in a positive and constructive direction."

The survey showed that emotional face-to-face support, which was consistent and ongoing, was the most cited reason the Trust was appreciated.

Ninety-six per cent of respondents said the level of support provided was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" of value, and that they would seek advice from the trust again if a similar event occurred.

Survey results were collected from 25 out of 98 people, who were either affected by the weather or were part of a supporting agency.

The Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust's objective is to provide support and strengthen primary sector rural people and their communities through challenging times.

This involves being prepared for and responding quickly to adverse events that may occur, and to build and maintain the necessary relationships and networks that can facilitate and foster a positive response to adverse times and help speed up recovery.


The RST can be contacted on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) to easily find someone to talk to.