An independent committee has been established to distribute the funds raised through the Evergreen Foundation, to support the Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti agricultural and horticultural sectors in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
The committee will be made up David Todd (Chair), Karen Morrish, Lochie McGillivray and Bruce Beaton. They have been charged with ensuring the funds are distributed in a consistent manner to where there is the greatest need.
Evergreen Foundation trustee and TUMU Group managing director, John O’Sullivan, said the committee had a wealth of sector experience.
David Todd spent more than two decades in rural banking and is a Hawke’s Bay facilitator of the Rural Support Trust.
Rissington resident Karen Morrish spent 18 years in senior roles with Scales Corporation, the owner of Mr Apple.
She is also a Director on the Global Gap Board and Environment Centre Hawke’s Bay.
Lochie MacGillivray is a former farmer and director of AgFirst and works with a range of farming and agribusiness clients.
Bruce Beaton is the former general manager of Pipfruit New Zealand and T and G Global and has a strong understanding of growing and supply chains.
Mr O’Sullivan said the cyclone relief fund had attracted over $500,000 worth of pledges and donations so far, which included $100,000 seed funding from the TUMU Group.
Other donations include $50,000 in cash and $100,000 in timber for community related projects from Red Stag Timber, $50,000 from PermaPine, $30,000 from Jarden and $15,000 from ECKO Fastening Systems.
Auckland-based PitchBlackPartners had instigated a raffle to raise funds for both the foundation and the Gisborne-based Matai Trust and that had raised $465,000 as of this morning. Fifty percent of the amount raised will be distributed by the Evergreen Foundation.
Over the past week, the fund had provided 13 flights via fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to drop fuel, food, and pet supplies to some of the most isolated rural communities, including to Patoka, Rissington, Dartmoor, Hawkston, Whanawhana, Wairoa, Tutira and Tiniroto.
Mr O’Sullivan said the fact the donations were rolling in from around the country was incredibly heartening.
“100 percent of those funds will go directly back into supporting our primary producers, and we wanted to ensure that the key decisions were made by people who had an intimate knowledge of the sectors, and had a deep sense of community,” he said.
“I am incredibly grateful to our team who been working some long hours to reach our isolated rural communities. We will continue to work with our community partners and do whatever we can to support the backbone of the Hawke’s Bay economy,” he said.
Anyone wanting to donate to the relief fund through the group’s charitable trust, Evergreen Foundation, can do so here: https://bit.ly/evergreenrelieffund
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