Trust grateful to southern farmers

The sale of 138 calves at the Lorneville stockyards on November 30 led to $54,000 being raised for the Key to Life Charitable Trust (Gumboot Trust). Photo: File

A $54,000 BOOST from 138 calves donated by Southland farmers has left Key to Life Charitable Trust (Gumboot Trust) mental health advocate ambassador Mike King in awe of rural Southland’s generosity.

“This whole calves for gumboots [initiative] is huge. Absolutely huge.

“That is a phenomenal effort for Kiwis outside Auckland. It’s absolutely brilliant. We can’t be more grateful.

“We are so thankful rural New Zealand has come on board and really showing the rest of the country what is possible.”

The sale of 138 calves at the Lorneville stockyards on November 30 was one of several held nationwide, with about 1000 calves sold nationally.

Dairy farmers would mainly donate weaned bull calves for sale to be finished being raised as beef.

“This time our biggest city was in complete lockdown, and provincial and rural New Zealand took Gumboot Friday on their shoulders and we are likely to clock $2 million out of it.”

Mr King believed rural New Zealand had led by example in the face of a lot of criticism.

“They have risen up silently and do their thing.

“These people have been getting smashed by the biggest city in the country. They’ve brushed it all off and gone, what, your kids need help, just like our kids need help, so we’re going to put all that bitterness to one side and do this because it is the right thing to do’.”

Mr King believed when the Government chose to fund a gang-based drug rehabilitation programme, but denied funding to the Key of Life Charitable Trust, it birthed a strong public backlash.

“When the Government said we are not donating to Gumboot Friday… but gave money to the Mongrel Mob, [it] really just stuck in the craw of most New Zealanders.”

The May 2021 Gumboot Friday, held while the nation was not in full lockdown, raised $985,000 nationally.

Mr King had never heard of any group of people backing an organisation to that extent. They only had one other initiative which had raised $200,000 in one hit.

The $54,000 sale would pay for counselling for 400 children.

Gumboot Friday was well supported for two reasons: because people recognised there was a genuine need and knew the money raised was going to help children who needed counselling; and every donated dollar went towards the cause, not on admin or other costs, he said.

The trust was maintaining its administration costs at 9%.

“Every time I see people collecting money, my first thought is love this idea, but how much is going to the cause, and how much is going to admin’.

“So when it’s coming out of your pocket, I am going to save every goddam cent.”

It was hoped the calf donors would come back onboard for the the 2022 Gumboot Friday events in May and November.