Every year on the 1st of January we send out a message of thanks and gratitude for the past year’s achievements and lives saved (and there were so so many!) … and also, a message of hope for the year being born.

But on this New Year’s day, as on Christmas Eve and the days in between, we were fighting, we were crying and we were trying. The effects of social ignorance and selfishness was literally overwhelming us.

Three-week-old kittens dumped in a bag, elderly cats and puppies being “got rid of”, several separate cases of emaciation, neglected, unwanted and thrown away animals, young and old in a variety of species over just 10 days.

One very special dog who died in our arms yesterday after days of desperately trying everything to save him, but only 1/3 of his required body weight and with organs failing there was nothing more to do than give him peace and let him go. He was a victim of gang scum, a vengeance stunt and you bet yah, we are working with the SPCA to bring him justice.

But as we struggle and mourn through this incredibly confronting holiday season, we know that our neighbours in Australia are continuing to struggle and suffer beyond our comprehension. Their world is burning and it is hard to fathom how it will be possible to overcome.

In February 2019 we stepped off the plane in Nelson and with no instruction or direction, started to build a temporary shelter for animals that were about to be displaced in the Richmond fires. Just as during the Christchurch earthquakes when we helped 140 homeless animals, we weren’t invited and some agencies even criticised us, asking what is HUHA doing there? Well what we were doing, is what we do best … we step away from our computers, desks, families and comfort zones, we assess each situation carefully and we front in the most effective way possible. We get stuck in and we problem solve. During the Fires last summer, with your help, we sheltered 957 animals. We cared for them as though they were our own and we returned them safely to their families when the emergency passed.

We are so incredibly proud of our HUHA family, our staff and our volunteers. The experience, skill and grit of our team is second to none and with the passion and dedication of volunteers and our face book followers we have been able to achieve the most incredible rescues, rehabilitation and wonderful re-homings.

We are braced and ready for 2020, but like an ice cold bucket of water over our head, we have been slapped into action immediately, there is already so much to achieve. We need to finish our new Haywards shelter build this summer so we can work with animals and communities to bring about societal change. And we need to champion more legislative change to protect animals in New Zealand … we have done it before, so we will dig deep and do it again. For every dog we see chained, puppy farm we stalk, for every skinny horse left to rot in a paddock and for every time we hear “it’s legal to do that” or “there is nothing you can legally do”, we will continue to fight for change and spread awareness. We need to be the change, the status quo just can’t go on.

Did you know there are now 72 independent animal organisations operating in New Zealand … they too bleed for every animal they rescue, and it is the dysfunction in the New Zealand legal system that is keeping us all overwhelmed. But we are making a promise to those dedicated carers. … we will find a way to relieve their pain also.

So we will continue to work as hard as we can for animals in NZ, but right now we are organising a team to head to Australia. Someone said to us just yesterday that we can’t do everything, that if we send some of our people to Australia and take our eye of New Zealand, then animals might slip through the cracks and die here.

But that person must not have seen us in action. Because as we are confronted with more … we just work smarter and harder. And that’s what we always do.

We aren’t going to say happy new year this year. We are going to say let this be a year of achievements and change. We are putting on our armour and we are going to war.

We also want to say please keep following and sharing, please stay engaged and involved. We are going to need you this year more than ever. Please know that your support, your $3 and your sharing is directly saving lives. This is your year to help us break the cycle of dysfunction and ignorance in Aotearoa.

We love you HUHANZ Community, together we are saving lives xx