Tasman district fires and drought 2019

In February 2019, the Tasman district was affected by a major fire and a drought. Check the advice and information given during the emergency, which ended on 27 February.


Dealing with dry conditions

Drought resources for the Tasman district

Civil Defence

For the most up-to-date information about the fires, go to:

Rural Support Trust for farmers

The Rural Support Trust helps farmers and provides access to networks, services, and government funding following an adverse event to help you get back on your feet.

For farm advice and support, contact the Top of the South Rural Support Trust on 0800 78 72 54. All calls are confidential and free.

If it's an emergency and you're concerned about the safety of people, call 111.

Federated Farmers' Feedline open

Federated Farmers has opened its Feedline to support farmers who have been affected by the fires and need extra feed or grazing for their animals.

Farmers who are short of feed, or who have feed to donate, can contact Federated Farmers on 0800 32 76 46.

Last newsletter

12pm, 28 February 2019 – Day 23

While the state of emergency declaration has been lifted and notice of transition to recovery has been issued, there is still an extreme fire risk across the Nelson-Tasman region and we urge residents to stay on alert and be prepared to evacuate.

Stay prepared

Have a plan in place that includes your animals. If you need to evacuate:

  • Take pets with you – if you can do so safely – or take them to a safe place. Do not leave pets in cars.
  • If you need to leave animals at your property, make sure they have access to 2 to 3 days of food and water, are in a safe space (such as a paddock with little to no grass or near a waterway) and can move to avoid danger.
  • Consider opening gates within your property so that outdoor animals can move away from the fire. Do not open gates on to roads.
  • Remove any flammable or heat-sensitive gear from your animals while the fire risk is still high, especially those with polyester or metal on them like horse rugs and halters.

The Richmond Showgrounds has returned to normal operations – the animal shelter has closed.

For concerns about animals, phone the MPI animal welfare line – 0800 00 83 33.

What are my options for stock?

You have some options to help your animals get through a drought in good condition.

If you don’t have enough feed or water, buying it in is possible. But plan for the long run. What if there is no rain in a month, for example? What are your trigger points to make decisions? You might be surprised at how much water animals need per day, especially when the weather is hot. If you can’t provide enough food and water to keep your animals healthy and in good condition, you will need to reduce the number of animals on your block.

See if you can have animals moved somewhere with less pressure on water or feed. Talk to friends and neighbours, or speak to Federated Farmers who match grazing and feed needed with offers from farms around the region in adverse events. You will need to arrange a contract with the grazing provider and organise the transport.

Depending on your situation, you may need to look at selling your animals or sending them to the works. There can be a backlog of several weeks, and it’s easier to sell animals in good condition, so make this decision sooner rather than later.

You will need to arrange transport for them, by you or a transport company, and you must make sure they are in a fit state to transport.

There is a list of works and agents on our animal welfare and drought information sheet:

Animal welfare and drought information for Nelson-Tasman [PDF, 187 KB]

Feed and grazing requests – Federated Farmers

The feedline service is available to anyone with stock. You don’t have to be a Federated Farmers member to use this service.

Federated Farmers has put out a member’s advisory today requesting extra grazing. So do call or mail in and see what may be available.

Bringing in extra water

For more information on water contact the Tasman District Council (TDC) 24-hours:

  • 03 543-8400
  • info@tasman.govt.nz

You can source water from areas where restrictions are not currently in effect. You will need to contact a tanker company to arrange this. These sites are already very busy.

For stock water, you’ll need to contact a tanker company/water carrier company to have it delivered. This is at your own cost to take care of your animals.

Water rationing in Wakefield and Richmond means that water tankers cannot fill up in the normally permitted sites. Tapawera’s water site is rationed only for human health needs (by application only), not for stock. Normal permits for Tapawera are no longer valid. Nelson is moving into further rationing and has stopped issuing permits.

TDC reminds people that filling up tanks or containers on the Wakefield and Richmond taps is not permitted. They will take steps to prosecute anyone putting the water supply at risk.

Keep informed

Previous media releases and newsletters


22 February [PDF, 129 KB]

21 February [PDF, 102 KB]

19 February [PDF, 154 KB]

18 February [PDF, 272 KB]

17 February [PDF, 121 KB]

16 February [PDF, 58 KB]

15 February pm [PDF, 59 KB]

15 February am [PDF, 120 KB]

14 February [PDF, 110 KB]

13 February [PDF, 115 KB]

Media releases

13 February: MPI working closely with response agencies as fire and drought conditions continue

10 February: Animal welfare issues

9 February: Information about the Tasman fires

Find out more

Further Government support announced 14 February – Beehive

Government support, medium-scale event declared 8 February – Beehive

After an emergency: How to ensure food is safe

Dry summer management – Dairy NZ

Extreme dry fact sheet – Beef+Lamb

How you can get help

Adverse events resources

Last reviewed: