Urban-rural divide bridged by kindness

March 10, 2011

Fonterra’s newsletter to shareholders includes this Roger Kilpatrick, the company’s North Canterbury field officer:

A story that sums up the month up for me:

I needed to fill a couple of BBQ gas bottles after the earthquake. I went past a petrol station that was taped off, as it was out of petrol but still had LPG. There were more than 20 people queuing for LPG. I joined the queue and got talking to a couple from New Brighton who had spent an hour and a half getting to the station. They noticed my Fonterra uniform and the conversation went like this:

“We don’t know a lot about dairying and you guys seem to get a lot of stick, but Fonterra and your farmers have been fantastic.  You have helped deliver water – you have helped with cleaning up – you have donated heaps of money – remember  there are a lot of people in town who really appreciate everything the farmers are doing, so make sure you say thanks”

So, thanks to all of you from a lot of people in the city of Christchurch who really have appreciated the efforts of Fonterra and the farming community in general, for their generosity in a number of ways.

I don’t know how much Fonterra has given to the quake recovery effort in total now. A week ago it was more than $3 million which included the initial million from the company plus its dollar for dollar matching of donations from shareholders and staff.

Stock firms, freezing companies, wool processors and at least one rural real estate firm have also facilitated donations from clients; and Federated Farmers and the Farmy Army will be making another assault on the dirt and silt next weekend.

The rural-urban divide sometimes seems like an unbridgeable gulf but in a crisis it closes completely.


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