Cyclone Gabrielle hit the Hawkes Bay on the 14 Feb, flooding a massive portion of the fruit producing areas as well as displacing many people from their homes.
Ngai Tukairangi Trust (NTT) is a Matapihi based Māori trust that purchased 66ha of G3 across multiple blocks in the region 5 years ago. Flood debris was caught in the high side nets with visible flood lines well over 1m above the canopy at the Waima block on Korokipo road, this deposited an average of 200mm silt across 6ha. However, at Puketapu, 600mm was deposited over 20ha. This also resulted in a range of other debris, including a substantial number of apples, sitting in the canopy.
The trust decided to try salvage the 6ha block by removing the silt. They began by digging by hand directly around the plants then using ‘dingoes’, soon realising that this would require a larger effort. SCH stepped in by offering our JCB Skid-steer and an operator for a month.
On March 1 Dylan Ngatai (SCH) arrived to run the machine. Two days later another machine arrived. These two machines would complete most of the work over the next six weeks, running 6 days a week. A third lowered skid-steer was later lent from BayGold. These machines were highly effective at moving the silt out to the end of the rows where other machines that weren’t restricted in height could take over. Together the machines completed over 360 hours. Combined efforts from SCH, Netpro HB, Symonds Contracting and of course NTT resulted in the removal of roughly 12,000m3 of silt at the Waima block, a monumental task that required significant work from all parties.
As relationships is a core value of SCH, it was only right to offer a hand to our fellow growers at NTT. This job aligned with the SCH purpose of enhancing community and helping others when we can.