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Chipping in on the West Coast

  • April 10, 2019
  • 3 min read

Our Emergency Response Team is lending a hand to get farms back up and running in the aftermath of recent storm.

You’ll find them following floods, in the sweep of storms and helping after hurricanes.

When natural disaster strikes members of Fonterra’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) can be quick to the scene to help farmers and New Zealand communties deal with often overwhelming recovery situations, such as the 2017 Edgecumbe flood

Right now a group of our ERT is working on the West Coast to help other kiwi farmers fix the storm damage and get farms functioning following the recent bout of bad weather.

National ERT Response Director Kevin Lockley says their current focus is fixing ruined fences and the crew of five working at Hokitika were selected because they have the best skills for the job.

“Some conversations with Federated Farmers helped us select the right mix of people for the task. In this case the team have a huge amount of fencing experience. This means we can work autonomously - fixing fences - while farmers can focus on other important jobs on the farm.” 

It’s tough work pulling mangled wires from beneth the mud and silt and dislodging the debris but it’s all got to be done before new fences can be put up.

 The team are often away for weeks away on end, spending time away from families and friends to help strangers, who soon become friends.

Watch the team in action on the West Coast here: 

Fonterra Emergency Response Team helps out on the West Coast

Time to watch: 1 min

We couldn’t do it without the support of our families and colleagues who keep ‘business as usual’ ticking along so we can help others.

Kevin Lockley, National ERT Response Director

The ERT is made up of a dedicated group of around 100 employees across New Zealand sites who bring different skills and expertise to help get things back up and running.

Among the teams ranks are firefighters, mountain search, rescue and recovery experts along with other volunteer first responders.

Fonterra is the only dairy company in the world to have an ERT and it’s one of the most highly trained teams in the country. 

They were some of the first on the ground following the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes as well as helping following the Edgecumbe and Manawatu floods over recent years. 

Tanker drivers, plant operators, cheese makers any other day, these men and women give up their regular daily lives for as long as it takes to help communities recover from natural disasters.

Learn more about our ERT: 

Ready to respond | The Fonterra ERT team

Time to watch: 1 min