Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Tairāwhiti digs deep for Cancer Society stock drive

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With a quarter-century under its belt, charity drive auctions off more than 300 donated sheep.
More than 300 donated sheep auctioned off – with one line fetching the highest commercial lamb price nationwide this season.
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Despite a tough year, Tairāwhiti farmers pulled together to once again support the Gisborne-East Coast Cancer Society stock drive, as they have done for 25 years. 

Held at the Matawhero saleyards each year, the stock drive attracts support from a wide breadth of people. 

The principal sponsor is ANZ and relationship associate Michelle Hawea does the mahi to organise the event, following in the footsteps of founder Andy Woolfield. But Hawea said the success of the event lies with the absolute generosity of the farmers, auctioneers and purchasers.

“I want to relay gratitude and thanks to not only the area co-ordinators and donors in our community, who have had such a rough year, but also to the incredible support of PGG Wrightson manager Jamie Hayward, stock agents, auctioneers Chris Hurlstone, Neville and Cody Clarke, and the many generous purchasers who often pay above market prices to support the day,” she said.

“They really contribute to the success seen year on year. The rural community we have here is unreal – they are generous and humble beyond words.”

The stock drive was held on August 25 and 313 sheep were donated by local farmers on the day. Subsequent sales will also sell lines donated to the Cancer Society. 

The 313 was made up of 105 prime sheep, 218 lambs and seven store sheep. 

A total of $33,583 (excluding GST) was raised with one line of 53 lambs from one annual donor selling for $215 per head, the highest commercial lamb price nationwide this season.

PGG Wrightson regional livestock manager Jamie Hayward said this year was always going to be harder, but the results were fantastic.

“All buyers were generous with their bids in what is a tough market environment.”

Lines sold above market value, but all money raised at the stock drive stays local, which gives added incentive to support the cause. 

Over the past 25 years, more than 8000 sheep have been donated and around $1.1 million raised.

Shay Podjursky from the Cancer Society echoed Hawea and Hayward’s comments.

“We are very grateful to those people that contribute to this event.  Twenty-five years of donations makes a real tangible difference to our local community and we are so appreciative of the ongoing support, especially given how rough the year has been.”

The money raised most often goes to supporting cancer patients through counselling, therapy and transportation.

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