Financial help for Hawke's Bay growers clearing silt won't help some people recover their crops, they say

Financial help for growers clearing silt from their crops has been welcomed in Hawke's Bay.

But for some, even when the debris is cleared, there won't be anything left to be saved.

For 16 years, Philip Barber nurtured the vines in his vineyard, but after Cyclone Gabrielle they are ruined.

"I wouldn't say it gets easier, it probably gets harder every day you get here because of the enormity," Petane Wines co-owner Philip Barber told Newshub.

Up until now, his focus has been on his house and family but he urgently needs the silt and debris around the vines cleared to survey the damage. 

"I mean, where's it all come from? All I know is it's all here on my land and it shouldn't be. We need bigger machinery and some money," Barber said.

The Government has stumped up $25 million to support farmers and growers. It included grants of $2000 per hectare of land for the removal of silt and the salvaging of plants.

"That is a big chunk of what we want to do [and that] is to support them to save those. The amount of silt sitting around that is one of the things that will really affect those trees and vines," Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

For growers like cherry orchardist Carla van Beek, it all helps.

"Oh it's huge, every little bit is really helpful because we've got insurance but our trees, you can't insure trees," van Beek said.

In the meantime, van Beek is clearing the bottoms of her trees in the hope that they'll survive.

"It's very demoralising if you go in on your own, or even just two or three people because it's too big, you just can't do it," van Beek said.

She's also got a team of volunteers and RSE workers mucking in.

The Government said the removal of silt could cost up to $200 million.

"I'm not exactly sure what we're going to do with it," van Beek said.

"They took 50 truckloads out of our garden alone and we've put it all at the moment in our paddock in the orchard."

But for Petane Wines vineyard grower Philip Barber, clearing the debris and silt won't bring back their award-winning vintage.

The vineyard had nine varieties including a row of Cologne 92 Chardonnay grapes which were supposed to be handpicked in two weeks. All nine varieties are completely dead.

When Newshub asked if Barber was able to save any of it, he said: "No these vines are history, there's nothing to be saved here."

It's going to be a herculean task for growers but progress is one day at a time.