Handy Landys always ready with their Red Bands

09 November 2023 | News

When farmers have needed a bit of help after natural disasters hit, the Handy Landys have been there.

The Handy Landys with a farmer they helped in the Hawke's Bay.

A Supreme Award winner at the recent Blues and Golds, they are not a particularly social student club.

That’s not what draws them together, though it is a side of the club which is growing. It’s not their reason for being.

They only assemble when they see an opportunity to help, united by their desire to assist the rural communities many of them come from.

Current club Chair Emily Irwin, and former Chair, Hamish Goatley said they were an on-call crew  available at short notice to help.

“When there are no issues unfolding in the community our members stay involved in other clubs and the Lincoln University community,” Emily said.

“However, it is great to see the developing social environment, as members stay in touch outside of club events and encourage others to become involved.”

They have become natural disaster specialists, lending a hand after earthquakes and floods, raising funds through picking apples or putting gumboots on the ground to help repair fences and clear land.

They earned the new Voluntary Contribution of the Year accolade at the Blues and Golds for travelling to Hawke’s Bay in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle to help farmers.

Emily said there were 15 active members, but many other people supported the club when events are on. 

“For example, twenty-seven people participated in the apple picking fundraiser at the Waipopo Apple Orchard."

She said club members were from Northland to Southland “and everywhere inbetween” and studied a variety of qualifications ranging from Agricultural Science, Agribusiness, Valuation, and Commerce.


The Handy Landys in action

People join Handy Landy’s to make a positive difference in rural communities. Many of the club members come from rural communities and have witnessed the damage of natural disasters.

“Many of us intend to be a part of these rural communities upon graduation and realise that assisting the rural community is beneficial for the current, and future health, of the sector,” Hamish said.

He said many members recognised that they may also find themselves in a situation where assistance is needed and were “paying it forward”.

“The comradery that occurs on trips and the learnings and connections made between students and with farmers is another huge drawcard,” Emily added.

“We choose to help people based on the needs that they require, and the capacity we have to respond to those needs. If the job is outside our abilities, we will pass the need onto other industry bodies.

“We are striving to expand our connections within the industry to increase the population of people we can help.”

They are starting to organise events for the beginning of 2024, particularly Club’s and Markets Day where new students will have the opportunity to join the team, as well as looking into future fundraising opportunities.

Hopefully, they won’t need to be called on again soon, but you can be sure they will be watching out for weather alerts to be there if the rural community could use a hand.