Goatee the goat had been too shy to mingle with the other animals on Selina Cook's farm.

But that was before this week's deluge forced him to share one of the few dry fields with a herd of young cows.

They accepted him as one of their own.

"It can be lonely being a goat," Mrs Cook said over the phone. "But I'm just watching him now, and the weaner calves are all walking up to him and making him feel at home.


"It's lovely," she said. "All this flooding has brought them together."

Goatee, aged 7 months, appeared to be quite happy with the calves when the Bay of Plenty Times visited their Papamoa property. However, after dining on a carrot, Goatee escaped through a gate and followed Mrs Cook around the farm as she talked about the challenges of recovering from the flood.

"Oh the devastation," she said. "The vege garden!"

One challenge for dairy farmers is the state of their grass, which tends to rot after it has been swamped by water.

Another is catching up on milking the cows.

"We've been flat-out," Mrs Cook said. "Everyone's been frantic milking them off."

Mrs Cook echoed the sentiments of some other Bell Rd residents when she said that development at Papamoa and the building of the Tauranga Eastern Link road had contributed to the flooding by draining water southward, into her area.

The resulting flood was "significantly worse" than others she'd experienced in the past eight years.


The water had risen high enough to flood many of the paddocks and form a small lake around much of her house.

But at least Goatee was happy.

"That's the positive," Mrs Cook said. "The silver lining."