New Zealand

Effects of Cyclone ‘Gita’ catastrophic for some orchardists

The effects of former tropical cyclone Gita have been catastrophic for some orchardists in the Tasman district, says Motueka Fruitgrowers Association chairman Simon Easton. Silt, debris and water swamped some orchard blocks or flowed into packing sheds and cool stores, when the storm slammed into the Nelson-Tasman region on February 20th.

According to, some orchardists had started harvesting their applies when Gita hit. Up until that moment, it looked like a beautiful crop season.

Some growers lost many trees or had to clean out packing sheds and cool stores, others had to find alternative accommodation for their workers when on-site housing was also swamped.

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor, who's also the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities, had visited some affected areas and said he believed the effects had been underestimated originally. “It's had a severe impact on a number of orchards and orchard operations," O'Connor said. "The cost of the clean-up alone is going to be a huge burden on those orchard operations."

O'Connor said he was working with Tasman District Council and other Government agencies to determine what help might be available for people.

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