Information about the Tasman fires

Media contact: MPI Animal Welfare

For the most up-to-date information about the fires visit:

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Government media release: Medium-scale event declared – Beehive website

Tasman fires: MPI and SPCA animal welfare update

10 February 2019, 5PM

  • MPI is continuing to work with the SPCA, HUHANZ, volunteers and others on the ground. Animal welfare is our top priority.
  • When we can, we are working behind the cordon, taking food and water and in some cases bringing animals back to the Richmond Showgrounds.
  • Today we entered Pigeon Valley for the first time in several days. Fortunately the fire had not reached any grazing areas, or any animals.
  • We also had assisted access to parts of Teapot Valley, Eves Valley and Redwood Valley. Approximately 100 sheep were evacuated from Eves Valley. We fed and watered as many animals as we could in these areas.
  • This afternoon we're assisted with emergency evacuations in Wakefield for high priority animals. SPCA’s National Rescue Unit managed to evacuate more than 200 birds from Wakefield last night. 
  • Our teams are on stand-by to assist with any further evacuations.
  • Where possible, animals are being tended to in place, which is less stressful for them.
  • More than 300 animals are now being cared for at the Showgrounds, where a there is housing, food and water. Animals of any size can be brought directly to the Showgrounds to be looked after by the amazing team of volunteers.
  • People have been visiting the showgrounds to look at the animals. This can be a hindrance for the teams looking after animals and moving animals onto the site. If you don't have anything to do with the animals, please stay away.
  • Anyone worried about animals in the fire affected area, or anybody looking to volunteer, should phone MPI on 0800 008 333 (option 4).
  • We are processing these calls as fast as we can allocate available crews to accompany animal welfare teams to check on properties.
  • If you have contacted our 0800 number and left a message we will return your call as quickly as we can. We are dealing a large number of calls and have put more people on our phones to answer and make calls.
  • Microchipping your pets is a great way to make sure you can be reunited with them in case of adverse events. The New Zealand Companion Animal Council has offered all animal welfare agencies and veterinarians in the Wakefield area, free registration on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR).
  • In addition, Animal Register Limited (ARL) is offering cost-price microchips and has made microchip scanners available to animal welfare agencies and veterinarians assisting with the emergency response.

Companion animals

Thinking about the animals left behind? So are we.

Phone the 0800 008 333 MPI Animal Welfare number, option 4. They will take down details and send it to the team in Nelson to triage.

SPCA, Massey University Response Team and MPI people have been out at properties helping to move animals to safer ground or evacuate when people are evacuated.

It’s difficult to go into areas beyond the cordon for individual cases, unless they are extreme animal welfare situations. This is because our vets need to be escorted by the fire specialists when the fire is not moving in the wrong direction, and the experts are also needed to fight the fire! What we are able to do, is get blocks of time agreed where our vets are able to safely go in with the firies to specific areas and go door to door, animal to animal, when we know there are animals who have been left behind and need care, water and food.

A couple of hundred people have registered their animals with us, thank you. We are contacting people when there are group trips for homeowners beyond the cordon. You will get a call from MPI in the next few days with any updates on your questions too. Thanks for your patience as we get this information into place.

Stock and large animals

There is a great team including HUHA, Animal Evac and Federated Farmers at the showgrounds meeting the needs of evacuated animals. More than 300 have been through and there has been a huge amount of feed, fencing and blankets donated.


Animal welfare volunteers are doing an amazing job 

A big thanks from MPI to our priceless volunteers from SPCA, Animal Evac and HUHA who have been on the ground helping look after people’s pets and livestock.

Want to volunteer?

Only volunteer through one of the agencies. You won’t be allowed to risk safety or firefighter resource by going through cordons alone.

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