Volunteers to start re-fencing Hawke’s Bay

Members of the FCANZ are heading to Hawke’s Bay to start making a dent in the huge re-fencing mission created by Cyclone Gabrielle

As part of their ‘Help a mate, buy a gate’ campaign, Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand (FCANZ) is assembling an army of volunteers in Ōtāne in the Hawke’s Bay to start re-fencing cyclone-damaged parts of the Hawke’s Bay on 18 and 19 May.fencing-hawkes-bay-may-23.jpg

“We all saw the awful images during the floods and in the immediate aftermath, but now, three months on, those in cyclone-hit areas are living with the everyday reality of the sheer scale of damage. It’s just overwhelming for many people,” says Phil Cornelius, FCANZ president.

“Our aim is to deliver as much high-quality rural fencing as we can in two days and take some of the load off for local landowners and fencing contractors alike.”

FCANZ industry partners have also jumped on-board for the event and will be supplying machinery, fencing supplies, labour, and food for the volunteers.

Volunteers are coming from all over the country. Three Primary Industry Academy (PIA) students from Geraldine High School, who have already completed a week in the area during the school holidays, will once again be on-site. Academy coordinator Sarah Foley-Smith says, “We are sitting on the most underutilised and underestimated workforce in the country with our amazingly talented teenagers. It’s hard to make people understand how super awesome the PIA kids are, but having seen them in action, one of the farmers said ‘they are experienced beyond their years’.”

In addition to the building of fences, the Hawke’s Bay Primary ITO team will be offering training opportunities as part of the New Zealand Certificate in Fencing (Level 3). This will allow those who have had their employment disrupted by the Cyclone to learn rural fence construction basics and potentially work with local fencing crews.

Following the May event, FCANZ will continue to fundraise and will be back again with more skilled volunteers in late spring.

“The reality is that the sheer damage to the area means that it will be some time until the full scale of the rebuild is known. Reinstating permanent fencing in the region can’t start until the silt and debris have been cleared,” says Phil. “This is just the start – we will be back.”

To learn more about FCANZ Fencing Days and the ‘Help a mate, buy a gate’ fundraising campaign, visit

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