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Enterprising Rural Women Award Entries 2015

Eleven dynamic and innovative businesses have entered the Rural Women New Zealand Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2015.

“This is the seventh year we’ve held the Enterprising Rural Women Awards,” says Rural Women National President, Wendy McGowan. “We’re starting to see an emerging trend of dynamic rural businesses being run by women to meet the needs of the rural community but with wider appeal to urban residents and tourists.”

Register now for our Conference to see the finalists and supreme award winners.  

Entry profiles in alphabetical order: 

Kate Belcher - Revolution Tours Ltd

Revolution Tours Ltd is a rural tourism company owned by Kate and Matt Belcher. They run four-day, three-night fully guided and supported cycling and walking tours called ‘The Paradise Trail’ in Glenorchy. They moved to Queenstown several years ago and drove to Glenorchy one day and felt an instant connection. They always wanted to be self-employed and contribute financially to the Glenorchy town and helping it thrive was part of their business plan.

They started the business in 2011 after researching, planning and gaining all the consents and permissions. It is the original guided cycle tour company in Queenstown and the only one operating in Glenorchy. Target market is 50-80 year olds who still enjoy physical activity but want to enjoy a good meal and comfortable night’s sleep after a day of adventure. They often receive the ultimate compliment that they have exceeded their clients’ expectations.

Bridget Canning - 
WIZwireless Limited



Owners Bridget and John Canning have a sheep and beef farm North East of Masterton.

They wanted broadband at home but found it was not available so they approached a local wireless company but it was so costly they decided to set up their own broadband infrastructure to support local residents.

WIZWireless provides coverage throughout Wairarapa and into the lower Tararua area. They get a buzz from installing new subscribers and feel that they are making a real difference to people’s lives. They can reduce phone bills by adding VoIP and extending mobile coverage with a Vodafone Sure Signal connecting over their network. John works at the farm while Bridget manages the broadband business.

Bernadette Jackson   LaValla



LaValla is a function centre specializing in weddings, conferencing, and accommodation set in an historical rural location 1.3km outside of Tuakau in the Waikato. LaValla was purchased in 2011 as a derelict Marist School and have converted it into a function centre that has hosted over 20 weddings and over 20 more are booked for 2015.

LaValla offers accommodation options, corporate functions, team building, clubs and family events including funerals. They offer a high quality product that is diverse enough that most people can afford to use them for one special occasion event in their life. They also support local groups with fundraising opportunities at their public events such as garden concerts.

Adi McMaster-  Martygirl Skinfood



Martygirl is a natural, ethical skinfood range. Adi McMaster’s business has grown from a hobby handmade in the kitchen with homemade labels and assorted jars, to being a branded professional product successfully marketed through local fairs and online sales. Adi also hosts workshops for locals to learn more about ingredients and make their own natural products.

Martygirl is based on the philosophy that you should not put anything on your skin that you would not eat or recognise on the label. Every product is 100 percent handmade with skin softening, soothing, local Martinbrough or nearby ingredients. Locally foraged herbs are researched before they are infused into oils, glycerites or tinctures and every product is named for local Wairarapa places.

Bronwyn Muir -  OnFarm Safety New Zealand



OnFarmSafety New Zealand was conceived to assist farm businesses to understand current farm health and safety legislation and prepare the rural community for new legislation. It started from Bronwyn Muir helping out one farmer who said that she explained the legislation well and there is a need for farmers to understand health and safety law.

Three years on, OnFarmSafety NZ has turned into a sustainable business. Bronwyn and staff take time to explain and support each farmer client through education on specific health and safety acts, codes, regulations and technical advice. Bronwyn and her team continue to create new ways and tools to assist the farmer to achieve health and safety compliance.

Chanelle Purser -  Carvin Streetwear



Carvin Streetwear is a fashion clothing, footwear and accessories store based in Gore. Chanelle was motivated to start up a fashion clothing store as farm duties did not allow enough time to travel further afield than Gore for shopping trips. After moving from the surfing region of Taranaki she recognised a gap in the market for streetwear fashion in Gore.

Carvin Streetwear opened in 2005 with Chanelle and two part-time staff and has evolved over the years and is now located in a premium retail space with full time staff who have completed retail industry training. In the past year staff have won a retail professional service award and the shop was awarded Top Shop for Otago and Southland and were runners-up for the Supreme Top Shop Award.

Renee Riley -  Bay Fitness



Renee Riley’s fitness business started nearly four years ago when she moved to Collingwood. Her husband did not need extra help on the farm so she wanted to find a career. She had trained as a personal trainer when she was younger but working in a big gym was not her style. She did some research about Collingwood and realized there were no options for locals to do fitness classes in their community.

Renee started off with a circuit strength training class at a local school hall which grew into several classes a week and personal training sessions. Eventually she leased a bigger hall and converted it into a gym with equipment. She now runs small group classes, including an “Easy Does It” class for older, less mobile people, as well as bootcamps and a women’s retreat.


Marie Taylor-  Plant Hawke’s Bay

Hawke’s Bay


Plant Hawke’s Bay is a native plant nursery specialising in growing eco-sourced Hawke’s Bay plants. Marie set up the company in 2005 with the objective to see more Hawke’s Bay plants going back into the local landscape. Marie has extensive knowledge of the distribution of native plants throughout the area after working for the QE II Trust for several years.

They grow around 85,000 plants a year on leased land. They sell wholesale plants and contract grow for farmers, lifestyle block owners, landscapers and for conservation projects like the kakabeak restoration. About 95 percent of plants are eco-sourced by collecting the seed and cuttings from natural plants in the wild. Marie’s business aims to be the preferred supplier of native plants, have a profitable and sustainable business and to help save plant species.

Holly Tonkin -  Avocado Contracting


Holly Tonkin has been avocado contracting for five years. Holly grew up in the rural sector but pursued other careers until her mother asked her to help pick avocados. She loved it and enjoyed being outdoors and soon found a job as a picker for avocados in Whangarei.

Holly now owns a business using hydralada’s which are elevated working platforms, and a transport trailer to move between jobs. Her clients include 20 avocado orchards and her main job is harvesting and managing staff to do the picking. Holly also undertakes pruning and general nursery tasks. Her clients have said that she has proved to be careful and respectful of the orchard and strives to avoid breakage and damage to orchard trees.

Marion Williams-  
Marion Williams Counselling


Marion Williams worked on a farm with her family for a decade and the reality hit hard as drought, floods and snow storms affected the farm. After completing a BA degree in applied psychology she applied for a position at a community based rural counselling service. She worked part-time and gained accreditation with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and other industry organisations.

In 2002 Marion sold the farm and now focuses on counselling. The foundation of her services is built on her experience and knowledge of rural culture and the gaps that the culture has created when it comes to acknowledging and talking about emotional health. The economic benefits to rural and urban communities in addressing emotional health through counselling are immeasurable.


Joanne Taylor

Latitude Media



Latitude Media was started from home by Joanne Taylor in 2007. She co-owns the business with her husband Deane but is solely responsible for the operational side of the business. They are also arable farmers who produce vegetable seed. The motivation to set up a magazine was to provide upmarket material for local women to read, especially in the rural areas of Canterbury.

Joanne Taylor filled a gap in the market for a high end magazine with inspiring real stories about local people written for a female rural audience. There are regular advertisers who have been with the magazine for over eight years. In every issue they feature a local charity, food producer and stories on art, history and culture. The one constant has to be a connection to Canterbury.


Many thanks to our sponsors:


Read All NewsRecent news

Congratulations to the National Competition Winners for 2017

Tarrant Bell & Tutaenui Bell Speech contest topic: “Why Not?”

Tutaenui Bell and Tarrant Bell

1st Place Alex Thompson, Amuri Dinner Branch, Region 2

2nd Place Leona Trimble, Hampden Branch, Region 1

Marlborough Short Story & Olive Burdekin short story “ What a Fuss”

1000-1500 words for Marlborough Short Story – Kerry France, Moa Flat Branch, Region 1 for “Guess what I am.” Dominion Essay Tray and voucher from Region 3


1500- 2000 words for Olive Burdekin – Chrissy Sumby, Kenepuru Branch, Region 3 for “Bay Swimming” Voucher from Region 3


Cora Wilding- insulated Pot Stand - any medium

Melva Robb – Marlborough Provincial, 1st Place, Region 3

Olive Craig Trophy Member of Excellence (Judged by the National Board) Sue Hall Region 6

Talbot Trophy- best Provincial, Branch or Group International Officer report

International Officer - Melva Robb – Marlborough Provincial, 1st Place, Region 3


The Honora O’Neill Gong is for the best Provincial, Sandra Curd, Mid Canterbury Region 2


Branch or Group President’s Report: Carolyn McLellan, Bainham Branch Region 3

The Lady Blundell Tray Competition

for the most innovative project completed by an individual, Group, Branch, Provincial or Region.

Winner: Amuri Dinner Group.


National Competition Winners 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Congratulations to the National Competition Winners for 2017 Read More

Rural untracked parcels change


From 1 February, New Zealand Post customers will see the cost of sending untracked parcels to rural addresses increase by $3.70.

This charge, which was initially only placed on Tracked, Courier and Courier Signature parcels will now also be applied to untracked parcels sent to a rural address as a means to offset fixed costs associated with deliver to rural locations.

New Zealand Post has stated that these costs are a result of the continuing decrease in letter volumes.


Despite ongoing cost reductions made, this change is said to be necessary to continue to operate a sustainable network.

For business account customers, the change will take effect on 1 July 2018 as set out in their contacts.



Rural Post Prices to Change

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rural untracked parcels change
 Read More

Rural Support Trust representatives are working closely with farmers to monitor well-being and directing them to relief assistance for flooding and other adverse events.

The Rural Support Trust advise farmers to ensure stock and domestic animals have food, water, and shelter where necessary, and are secure. Ensure that all stock injuries are promptly attended too, after human needs are met.

If your farm or rural property or stock has been affected by an adverse event and you need assistance, contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) with information on the impacts on your farm, or requests for help.

The Rural Women New Zealand Adverse Events and Relief Fund is available to individuals, communities and groups, with a particular emphasis on rural women and children. The fund provides financial assistance to persons or groups, where there is an identified urgent need due to recent adverse events such as drought, fires, floods or earthquakes.

Click here to read more about applying for the fund.

Contact details for support agencies:

The Rural Support Trust (RST organise community events and one-on-one mentoring, as well as targeted support services in emergency situations)  
http://www.rural-support.org.nz Ph: 0800 787 254.

DairyNZ: Sharemilkers support http://www.dairynz.co.nz/farm/tactics/support-for-sharemilkers/

Federated Farmers http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/ Ph: 0800 327 646 or drought feedline 0800 376 844.

Doug Avery’s Resilient Farmer http://www.resilientfarmer.co.nz/

Farmstrong http://www.farmstrong.co.nz

If you just want to talk, or know someone who is at risk, there are a range of support options available, including counselling services:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling

Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 - Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.

Women's Refuge: 0800 REFUGE (733 843) a 24/7 crisis and support line provide advice and information.

Shakti New Zealand 0800SHAKTI (0800 742 584) If you are in a situation of domestic violence call our 24-hour crisis line, and multi-lingual staff will provide information.

Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.

What'sup: 0800 942 8787 (0800 What’s Up) is a counselling helpline for children and young people, aged 5-18. Phone Mon-Fri 1-10pm, Sat-Sun 3-10pm.

Kidsline: 0800 543 754, it is a 24/7 helpline for children and teens, run by specially trained youth volunteers.

Thelowdown.co.nz - Free Text 5626, watch videos or contact for support. 

depression.org.nz National Depression Initiative (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service 

Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki If you're worried about a child or family that you know, there are ways you can help, contact Child, Youth and Family.

For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz .

If it is an emergency, or you feel yourself, or someone you know is at risk, please call 111.

Rural community support services

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Rural Support Trust representatives are working closely with farmers to monitor well-being and directing them to relief assistance for flooding and other adverse events. Read More

This is an annual event, where women’s groups in many countries organise walks in their communities along local tracks and trails, to raise funds for the Associated Country Women of the World.

It’s a great way to come together, catch up with friends and have some fun and healthy exercise along the way.

The date for the event is Sunday 29 April– ACWW Day - though walks can take place at other dates around that time if more convenient.

Here’s What You Do:

1.Decide on a walk for your group. It can range from a stroll around the park, a hike through the bush, an amble around a neighbourhood or along a walkway.
2.Invite others. This is a great way to reach out to new potential members, and include families and friends.
3.Go to the registration form , fill it in and email [email protected] or post to national office before your walk, so we know what walks are taking place and can promote them.
4.Fund raise through sponsorship, a gold coin donation, or perhaps an afternoon tea or sausage sizzle afterwards.
5.Tally up the number of people who attend and the distance walked.
6.Take photos and send to national office so we can publicise your walks and use on our website and Facebook pages. Email [email protected]
7.Send your funds raised, and details of kilometres walked to national office.




More About The Work Of ACWW

ACWW connects and supports women and communities worldwide by:

• Working in partnership with member societies to offer mutual support
• Connecting at international level through UN representation
• Funding community development projects
• Supporting agricultural initiatives
Find out more about ACWW here.

Women Walk the World 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

This is an annual event, where women’s groups in many countries organise walks in their communities along local tracks and trails, to raise funds for the Associated Country Women of the World. Read More

Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) is RWNZ's topic of study for 2017. We have included an overview of the purpose of ACWW below, along with some links to further information.

RWNZ was one of the founding members of ACWW. It is one of the largest international development organisations for rural women.

The ACWW network allows it to engage at the local, national, and international level with the aim of achieving these goals:

- To raise the standard of living for rural women and their families through education, training and community development programmes.

- To provide practical support to our members and help them set up income-generating schemes.

- To support educational opportunities for women and girls, and help eliminate gender discrimination.

- To give rural women a voice at an international level through our links with UN agencies and bodies.

Caption: Delegates from the South Pacific Area Conference in New Plymouth complete the ACWW Walk the World event in April 2017. 

Click here to download an information booklet about ACWW (8MB PDF)

Click here to go to the ACWW website


ACWW Study Topic 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) is RWNZ's topic of study for 2017. We have included an overview of the purpose of ACWW below, along with some links to further information.  Read More

 Melva Robb and Glenda Robb are sisters who are very active members of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) Marlborough Provincial. Marlborough Mayor John Leggett has awarded Civic Honours to the sisters, along with three other Marlborough residents.

Mr Leggett says the honours are an opportunity to recognise members of the community who give outstanding service to others.

“The recipients use their skills and energy and give their time and talents to a myriad of organisations and causes. They are serving us all by contributing to the greater good and each deserves our grateful thanks,” he said.

Severe earthquakes hit on 14 November 2016 affecting rural people in North Canterbury, Kaikōura and South Marlborough. Melva and Glenda spearheaded delivery of relief supplies to remote rural families.They teamed up with the local Rural Support Trust and Federated Farmers, to contact as many residents as they could to assess what was needed other than food.

“Melva and Glenda’s personal compassion which comes with a loving dollop of practical help, alleviated the sense of isolation and trauma families were experiencing from the Clarence to South Marlborough and the Awatere Valley,” says RWNZ Marlborough member Barbara Stuart. “They took the crisis seriously and did everything in their power to help.”

Glenda and Melva appealed to RWNZ members and the wider community for donations of crockery and dinner sets. They prepared 100 gift baskets of baking, chocolates and soft toys for children and managed to get supplies onto transport that was headed to isolated areas. They even sent a gift basket via helicopter for a family with a new-born baby, who were isolated at the top of the Awatere Valley.


The other honours recipients this year are Ross Beech, a farmer-environmentalist and a member of the South Marlborough Landscape Restoration Trust; Jim Thomas, a Lions Club member with a record of service to sport and who has a key role in the local Victim Support service, and Henny Vervaart, a Rotary Club member, Red Cross meals-on-wheels volunteer and a valued part of the Alzheimers Marlborough organisation.




Civic Award for Melva Robb and Glenda Robb

Monday, October 09, 2017

 Melva Robb and Glenda Robb are sisters who are very active members of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) Marlborough Provincial. Marlborough Mayor John Leggett has awarded Civic Honours to the sisters, along with three other Marlborough residents. Read More