Auckland man 'overwhelmed and humbled' by reaction to his heartfelt open letter of thanks to Kiwi farmers

An open letter to Kiwi farmers written by a "latte-sipping" Aucklander has gone viral over the last couple of days, and it has left the author feeling "overwhelmed and humbled".

The letter, prompted by a spate of farmer suicides and penned by Matt Shirtcliffe, has been read all over the world.

Mr Shirtcliffe's message of "your life is worth a great deal more than your farm ever will be," has been shared thousands of times since it was released.

Mr Shirtcliffe said he had no idea how far it was going to go.

"It's been picked up not just by farmers in this country but in Australia, the US, the UK and even funny places, like the Channel Islands."

Mr Shirtcliffe said all farmers hear about is the "bad news stories". Federated Farmers' Katie Milne said: "It's cool to know that we aren't alone.

"There are a lot of people who don’t realise that we are just doing our best and doing good stuff.

"If we didn't do it, their lives would be a lot harder because they'd have to go milk their own cow for their latte," she told 1 NEWS.

In recent years, the dairy downturn has taken a toll on the mental health of farmers and conditions are not getting any easier.

Ms Milne said it's about to get really hard.

"The way it's looking throughout the country is a really tough season. We went out of the wet, straight into the dry."

The cause is very close to Mr Shirtcliffe’s heart who lost his wife to suicide in 2015.

"We were living in the city but she had been a farmer before we got married, so I’ve always identified with farmers and their trials and tribulations," he said.

Ms Milne said: "It doesn’t matter who it is, we all need to look out for each other." 

The letter has gone global and was prompted by a spate of farmer suicides in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Man's body found after car crashes off steep bank into a West Coast river

The body of a man who died after his vehicle crashed off a steep bank into a West Coast river has been found this afternoon.

The man, 44, died after his car crashed into a bank before plummeting into the Okuru River in Haast, West Coast.

A search and rescue effort was started after the man's car was found by a passing jet boater on Wednesday afternoon.

The body was found 1km downstream from his vehicle and has since been recovered.

His death has been referred to the Coroner.

Search and rescue teams were alerted when a car crashed off a bank and into the Okuru river on Wednesday. Source: 1 NEWS


'Excessive delays' in Gisborne as festival-goers make their way to Rhythm and Vines

Commuters in Gisborne are being warned of huge delays in the east coast town with the first day of the popular Rhythm and Vines festival kicking off today. 

There is currently a traffic queue stretching back around 5 kilometres. 

Police said in a statement the congestion has been caused by heavy traffic volumes. 

Meanwhile a crash south of Gisborne is also causing traffic headaches.

NZTA has advised there has been a crash on State Highway Two near the intersection with Paritu Road, causing delays in both directions.

NZTA are asking motorists to take extra care.

Weather is also a concern for festival-goers, with a heavy-rain warning still in place for today. 

Rhythm and Vines is in its 15th year, and 20,000 people are expected to attend with camping sold out. 

Source: Close Up