Friday, 10 March 2023 - 3:24pm

Swapping saddles for shovels

1 min read

News article photos (2 items)

The clean-up crew, from left: Grayson, Nina, Kendra, Shanti and Gaia.
Senior Sergeant Steve Nicoll with, from left: Grayson, Nina, Shanti and Gaia. Kendra took the photo.

An impromptu chat with some equestrian fans and competitors during the cyclone clean-up in Hawke's Bay this week highlighted the extra lengths many are going to to support the region.  

Manager of Youth and Communities in Hawke’s Bay Senior Sergeant Steve Nicoll was leaving Pakowhai Hall, Hastings, where the multi-agency Recovery Hub is situated, when he bumped into a very dirty but keen group of people who were helping out across the road.

“I saw a group of young people, covered in mud, and pushing a wheelbarrow laden with tools," says Steve. "I stopped to speak with them and met Grayson, Nina, Kendra, Shanti and Gaia who were getting stuck in to the clean-up effort."

The group had been due to attend the Horse of the Year show, which was cancelled due to Cyclone Gabrielle. Most of them were not local, but after seeing everything that was happening in Hawke’s Bay they decided to travel down anyway to help out in any way they could.

Grayson, and sisters Shanti and Gaia are all from Northland, Kendra is from Taupō and Nina lives in Hawkes Bay.

“I was blown away by the passion, energy and dedication that the young group had," says Steve. "It was even more amazing that most of the team were not from Hawke’s Bay and younger than 18.

"If I hadn’t have stopped to speak to them, they would have carried on without any credit for the amazing work they are doing.

"I’m glad that I did stop and I think they deserve to be recognised by the communities who may have no idea of what they are doing to help out.”