Hugh Renton is putting his farming and footy background to good use to support Hawke's Bay farmers struggling with the pressures of drought.

"I don't want any other family to go through what my family's been through" the former Hurricane told The Country's Jamie Mackay.

Hawke's Bay drought: Hugh Renton's father's words resonate, motivate
All Blacks captain Sam Cane has words of support for drought-stricken Hawke's Bay farmers

In 2017, Hugh's father Paul, a former rugby player and New Zealand Farmer of the Year, tragically took his own life during a drought.


"Life completely changed from that point forward".

A drought was declared in Hawke's Bay in March and despite recent rain, conditions remain tough and feed levels are low across the region. Renton decided to reach out to his famous footy mates and asked them to record positive messages to keep farmers' spirits up.

Listen below:

He was pleased with the response.

"I just messaged them and to their credit - and I'm really grateful for this - they just reached out straight away and they just said 'yeah, no worries ... I just want to help any way I can and as much as I can' ".

"I'm incredibly grateful for their time and also for the message - because the messages are really genuine and really heartfelt".

So far All Blacks captain Sam Cane has recorded a message which had been well received - and there were more videos to come, Renton said.

"There are other All Blacks [that] I've reached out to and they're incredibly busy, so it is pretty special that first they even considered doing this, and secondly, are thinking of Hawke's Bay farmers".

Renton hoped his videos would inspire farmers to do "a good day's work", knowing that others understood they were going through tough times.


"It's not about me or anything like that. It's really just to show support for these farmers".

"Keep doing that darn good job, keep waking up, keep continuing [to farm] because you're the real backbone of New Zealand".

Also in today's interview: Renton talked about whether he would return to the family farm after finishing his accounting, finance and psychology degree at Canterbury University.

Where to get help:
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.