Tasman district fires 2019

Information and resources to help farmers and animal owners affected by the fires that started in the Tasman district in February 2019.


Latest newsletter update

10:30 am, 19 February 2019 - Day 15

MPI is encouraging residents who have restricted access to their properties today to ensure they provide their animals with enough food and water for at least 2-3 days.

This is in case residents cannot get back to their animals for several days, if conditions change.

A team from MPI are rotating through the cordons today to assist residents if they have any concerns about their animal’s welfare. If an animal welfare officer is not there at the time, those staffing the cordon will have contact details for the officer covering your area, otherwise call us on 0800 008 333 option 4.

Where needed and where we can, our officers and vets are going back to properties to assess concerns for those residents and will facilitate the support you need.


We will be providing future updates on the animal welfare situation on an ‘as-needed’ basis.

We’re continuing to monitor the situation on the ground in Nelson, and work with Civil Defence to address animal welfare issues associated with the fires.


The team at the Richmond Park Showgrounds continues to do a great job looking after evacuated animals. As of today, there are about 70 animals currently being cared for, including rabbits, birds, livestock, several day-stay dogs and a pheasant.

If you have to evacuate

If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you – if you can do so safely – or take them to friends, family, whanau or boarding facilities. If you are unable to find alternative accommodation for them, you can take them to the Richmond Showgrounds. Please do not leave animals in cars.

If you have to leave your animals behind, make sure they’re in a safe place, well away from any fire risk, such as a recently ploughed paddock.

Safer areas should be away from dense vegetation, scrub, bush or forest - anything that will fuel a fire. Safer areas should be fenced, have water supply, short pasture, and protection from radiant heat.

Ensure that any livestock left on your property have sufficient food and water for 2-3 days and that they have freedom to move to water.

We will be providing future updates on the animal welfare situation on an ‘as-needed’ basis.

Keep informed

Previous media releases and newsletters


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

Civil Defence

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

Animal welfare

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is working with the SPCA, HUHANZ, the Massey University response team, volunteers, and others on the ground. Animal welfare is our top priority.

When we are allowed to do so, we are working behind the cordon, taking food and water and in some cases evacuating animals. Where possible, livestock are being tended to in place, which is less stressful for them.

If you are concerned about animals, call MPI on 0800 00 83 33. Then select option 4. We are processing these calls as fast as we can, and allocating available crews to accompany animal welfare teams to check on properties. If you are unable to speak with someone immediately, leave your contact details and someone will get back to you.

Many animals are being cared for at the Richmond Showgrounds, where there is housing, food, and water. Animals of any size can be brought directly to the showgrounds to be looked after by 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, stay away.

Download an information sheet about when animals are affected by fire [PDF, 191 KB]

After the fires

Are you and your animals returning home after the fires, or staying in temporary housing? We've prepared a fact sheet with information to help you. You'll find information for pets, lost pets, and livestock.

Download a fact sheet about looking after your animals after the fires [PDF, 88 KB]

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.

Dealing with dry conditions

Find out more

Further Government support announced 14 February – Beehive website

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

After an emergency: How to ensure food is safe

Dry summer management – Dairy NZ website  

Extreme dry fact sheet – Beef+Lamb website 

How you can get help

Adverse events resources


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