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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

Past National President Wendy McGowan has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rural women in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Wendy has been a member of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) since 1975 and has held offices with the Kaharoa Branch, Provincial and Inter-Provincial Committees. 

She said she felt excited about the honour and very thankful to the people who had nominated her.

In 2005 Mrs McGowan became National Councillor for the Region Five area covering Coromandel to Gisborne.

She was vice president for two years, convened the Social Issues Committee and the Land Use Committee.

Wendy represented RWNZ on the New Zealand Food Safety Consumer Forum for four years.

She was appointed National President of RWNZ from 2013 to 2016, during which time she led the delegation to the 2014 South Pacific Area Conference and the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) Triennial World Conference.

Wendy oversaw the implementation of changes to the structure of the governing body and rules of RWNZ and negotiated the sale of Access Homehealth Ltd during her term as National President.

She has been an individual member of the ACWW and was part of the RWNZ delegation to the South Pacific Area Conference in Tonga in 2011. She has served on the Rural Community Trust as the RWNZ representative.

Wendy is a member of the Kaimai-Mamaku Catchment Forum and Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo Province, and has been president and chairperson of Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre section for the province.


Congratulations to Rebecca Keoghan

Rebecca Keoghan has been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business, particularly the dairy industry.

Rebecca Keoghan is a RWNZ member and has contributed to the Westland region for the past 10 years. In addition to her role as co-director of a 250 cow, 300 hectare farm Mrs Keoghan was Operations Manager of Westport's Holcim Cement Ltd, controlling the quality production of 500,000 tonnes of clinker and 550,000 tonnes of cement per annum. She led the growth of a 'zero harm' culture for her staff at Holcim.

Currently as Business Manager of Landcorp Farming Ltd she is responsible for the strategic development and management of five large dairy farms in the region, as well as a dairy support farm and a machinery syndicate spanning the Cape Foulwind and Grey Valley areas.

She is a director of Westland Milk Products Ltd and of Buller Holdings, which has responsibility for Buller District Council's commercial assets.

She was formerly Area President of the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society's West Coast Board.
She was a member of the Northern South Island committee of OSPRI, the organisation managing the National Animal Identification and Tracing programme to eliminate bovine tuberculosis from New Zealand.

Rebecca was previously Team Leader and is currently a judge for the Dairy Manager of the Year Award programme for the Dairy Industry Awards. She was the Dairy Women's Network Dairy Woman of the Year in 2016.



Congratulations to Wendy McGowan

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Past National President Wendy McGowan has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rural women in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Read More

Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has been found in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. 

The fungus attacks various species of plants in the Myrtaceae family, also known as the myrtle family. It is found in many parts of the world including New Caledonia and all along Australia's eastern seaboard.

Myrtle rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or via insects, birds, people, or machinery.

It is thought the fungus arrived in New Zealand carried by strong winds from Australia. There have been a number of significant weather events capable of transporting spores here and the discovery of the disease in large, established trees lends weight to this assumption.

MPI and the Department of Conservation (DOC), with the help of local iwi, the nursery industry and local authorities are running a large operation to determine the scale of the situation and contain and control myrtle rust in the areas it has been found.


If you think you've seen the symptoms of myrtle rust, don't touch it.

  • Call the MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline immediately on 0800 80 99 66.
  • If you have a camera or phone camera, take clear photos, including the whole plant, the whole affected leaf, and a close-up of the spores or affected area of the plant.
  • Don't touch it or try to collect samples as this may increase the spread of the disease.

Don't move myrtle plants or green waste out of  Controlled Area

MPI has introduced a Controlled Area which extends 10km from the known infected areas in Waitara, Taranaki.

It is illegal to move plants (including trees) or plant material (such as garden waste, clippings, feijoa and guava fruit) from the myrtle family out of this area. You can still buy and plant these species inside the Controlled Area.

For more details on the outbreak and how to manage plants affected by Myrtle Rust see the MPI website: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/myrtle-rust


Information source: Ministry for Primary Industries.



Myrtle Rust outbreak what you need to know

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has been found in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.  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 Vulnerable 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

RWNZ recently sent out a survey on Boarding Bursaries, asking members a series of questions, to enable us to provide evidence-based data around the key issues on how the costs of boarding students and the associated issues impact on our rural families.

The information provided formed the report to the Ministry of Education in response to the review on access and the multiple barriers allowances offered by the Ministry of Education’s Boarding Allowance Scheme. 

Eighty survey responses were received, and while each had its own individual comments, there were some common themes.

Question one asked whether or not people believed the value of access barriers and multiple allowance barriers is sufficient. A minority believe the value is sufficient because it is only an assistance, however the majority believe it falls short of the ever-increasing costs of boarding school and fails to take into account certain family circumstances, such as a one parent household, multiple children or a low income household.

As a result of not attending boarding school, children can face disadvantages such as a limited range of extra-curricular activities, or attending a local school which “may not provide a very high standard of education, holding bright children back from achieving their potential.”

Respondents were also asked whether they believed there were families who are eligible to receive allowances but do not apply. Surprisingly, a majority said that they do know of families in this position. Some parents have had issues in the past, and find the process stressful. Other parents have simply not been aware the allowances exist, and it was suggested schools should have an obligation to advise families about allowances. Some stated the opposite, that in their communities almost everyone applies because the majority are low to middle income earners, and need all financial assistance available.

When asked whether they believed the eligibility criteria are set at the right level, most people disagreed. Those who disagreed believe the distance criteria are too high, and fail to take into account rural areas with rough terrain and narrow windy roads. It can be difficult for families living in isolated areas traveling on gravel roads that are slower to negotiate. However, those who agreed also mentioned there probably needs to be some flexibility for unique cases.

There are many consequences for families who cannot board due to financial reasons. For the child, common consequences include isolation, lack of social contact, lack of friendships and the ability to build new relationships, and a lack of participation in cultural, sporting and other activities. The effect on the whole family includes the cost and stress of relocating, and in some cases dividing the family.

From the survey, the proposed solution is that all children should be given the option to go to boarding school if they wish. They should also have the ability to return back home after their studies as a fulfilled citizen, passionate and influential, with a desire to give back to the community they originated from. The access barriers facing families today that wish to send a child to boarding school are perceived to be a lot harder than in previous years.

Great Barrier Island

There were a large number of responses from Great Barrier Island where the issue of boarding allowances is a “hot topic”, and because they are a small and close-knit community, families regularly engage in open and frank discussions. While correspondence is an option, there were many issues, and are still, with the Correspondence School: Te Kura. Also, correspondence does not fit with every child’s learning needs.

These children take correspondence due to lack of money, and it is felt on the island that they are not receiving a proper education. To make matters worse, this increases their chance of gravitating towards and becoming involved in social activities with negative outcomes.

Great Barrier Island believe that the allowances should also be area-based, and not subject to distance criteria.




Boarding Allowance Scheme Survey

Monday, June 19, 2017

RWNZ recently sent out a survey on Boarding Bursaries, asking members a series of questions, to enable us to provide evidence-based data around the key issues on how the costs of boarding students and the associated issues impact on our rural families. 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

Maternity services have come under the spotlight with the announcement that an anonymous group of midwives has sent a complaint alleging that midwifery is at a crisis point to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

The letter is now being handled by the Ministry of Health (as confirmed to the Otago Daily Times newspaper). While the contents of the 33-page letter are not known to the public, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has concerns in two areas. 

This letter comes at a time when smaller maternity units are being threatened by closure, meaning that women living in rural areas will no longer have a choice in where they give birth and will have to go to larger urban areas away from home and family.

RWNZ can name maternity hospitals in Te Anau, Lumsden and Tutatapere in the South Island and Te Kuiti in the North that are currently under threat of closure. Government and DHB’s will claim that the services are being under-used, but the reality for newly pregnant women when they must make a choice about where they will give birth, is that the uncertainty of a smaller hospital’s future leaves them with no choice than to go to an urban area.

Rural women are already at a disadvantage with their maternity care. During the first three months of pregnancy, the midwife and the mother must come to an agreement over the number of visits made at home once the baby has been born. It is appreciated that distance and time for midwives to travel to rural areas is an issue and that the seven, or more home visits are unlikely to happen with the current level of recompense that midwives receive. Most will agree to one visit with the expectation that the mother will then be able to travel to a clinic for the aftercare that they are entitled to.

In most cases, the arrangement works unless the new mother has had a caesarean birth and is unable to drive for six weeks. Not only is she deprived of essential aftercare, in some cases they can be isolated from other support services and family. There may be further issues when the new mother is a migrant worker, or English is a second language, or where there is a variable income. The demands of seasonal farm work will often play their part too, and it is not always possible for a farmer to stop work over the six week period of midwife aftercare to transport the new mother and baby to appointments.

Government and DHB’s need to accept responsibility for optimum care for new mothers and babies at a time in life when the need for guidance and advice is crucial. The early days of a baby’s life and the ability of the mother to adapt and cope with new demands are crucial for the future health of the baby. Care delivered at this early stage is an investment in the lifetime health of a child.

Whatever the outcome from the letter the midwives have sent, it will be founded on genuine deep concern for the health of mother and babies, and Rural Women New Zealand is hopeful that their concerns will be considered with that knowledge in mind.

Rural Women New Zealand believes that all women regardless of their geographical location deserve equity of maternity services.

Note: Midwives letter referenced in Otago Daily Times, published 29 May 2017.



Concerns for equity of maternity services in rural areas

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Maternity services have come under the spotlight with the announcement that an anonymous group of midwives has sent a complaint alleging that midwifery is at a crisis point to the Health and Disability Commissioner. Read More