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71st National Conference, Ashburton

Rural Women New Zealand

71st National Conference, Ashburton
May 22 – May 25

Ashburton is hosting the 71st National Conference of Rural Women New Zealand from May 22nd – 25th, with over 250 delegates expected to arrive from throughout New Zealand.

This will be the first time an RWNZ conference has been held in the Mid-Canterbury town and the organizing committee has worked hard to put together a full and interesting programme that highlights the best of what the area can offer.

The theme for the conference is ‘Building the Dream’ and each of the guest speakers has been asked to speak to this theme.

Speakers include the Honourable Jenny Shipley, who is the guest speaker at the opening event; Barry Maister, Executive Director of the Olympic Games committee and Raewin Tipene–Clarke, entrant in the New York Marathon 2005.

Ashburton: The choice of Ashburton as the venue for the 71st conference of Rural Women New Zealand is significant.

Situated as it is in the middle of a large rural area, Ashburton can be said to be fully aware of the ‘raison d’etre’ of Rural Women New Zealand and its members. Over 300 delegates, members and partners from throughout New Zealand are expected to attend the conference and enjoy some exciting social activities and eye-opening tours.

There will also be ample opportunity to get down to business and discuss important rural issues such as The Correspondence School, Hospice funding and travel on the nation’s highways, as well as to take part in some vigorous debate on the future of our organisation and the unveiling of our new plan for members’ participation in encouraging new membership.

Canterbury/Region Two contains a very large rural population and many of the issues which the National Council of Rural Women New Zealand is currently addressing are familiar to this area.

One in particular, homecare and support for rural elderly and sick people, is of major concern. Rural Women New Zealand, which is the sole owner of the homecare service, Access Homehealth, recently presented a petition to the Government calling for improved travel costs reimbursement for rural homecare workers.

The rural sector, especially here in Canterbury, has great difficulty recruiting homecare workers - mainly due to the extremely poor wages paid - but also because of the lack of funds available for the providers to assist with the large travel costs which are incurred as part of their work.

Rural Women New Zealand, which last year celebrated its 80th year of existence, works to ‘strengthen rural communities’ and the theme for this conference – ‘Building the dream” reflects our concern with the future of rural communities and the future of the organisation. Rural Women New Zealand has a long and recognised tradition of advocating and working for rural communities, families, women and children. The members of Rural Women New Zealand deem it a great privilege to be in Ashburton for this important rural event.

Sherrill Dackers
National President

Partners and Observers Tours.

Three fascinating tours that highlight the importance of water and the diversity of land use in Mid-Canterbury have been organized for the partners of delegates and observers on each of the three days of the Rural Women New Zealand National Conference.

The Tuesday 23 May tour - ‘Water put to Work’ - will focus on the Rangitata Water Race from the intake at Klondyke on the Rangitata River across to the power station on the Rakaia River.

On Wednesday 24 May the tour titled ‘Water in Use’ will visit the Five Star Beef Feedlot, Cloverdale Holdings – a 3000-cow dairy farm - to view and discuss spray irrigation, centre pivot, rotor rainer and the ‘pods’. Then it will be on to Robert Jones’ farm to view the turbines he’s installed to generate electricity for powering irrigation pumps on his farm.

Finally on Thursday 25 May there will be a half day tour looking at the diversity of farming in Mid-Canterbury. This tour will showcase some of the more diverse rural businesses in the district including Homestead Alpacas, Turkeyville, vegetable and grape growers at Pendarves and a lily packing production shed at Rakaia.

An invitation is extended to any members of the public interested in joining any of these tours. There is a small charge. All the tours leave from Hotel Ashburton at 8.30am. The Tuesday and Wednesday tours return by 4.30pm and the Thursday tour will finish at 12 noon. Lunch is included in the price for the day. Please contact Wendy Suttie, Phone (03) 308 2085.

Low-Cost Easy-Care Sheep research to be revealed on AgResearch Conference Tour

Since 1997 AgResearch scientist Dr David Scobie and his team have been experimentally developing a composite sheep with traits to impove sheep welfare by eliminating docking and fly strike and reducing the need for crutching, dagging and chemical protection.

RWNZ’s Women in Farming and Women in Agribusiness groups will have a chance to learn more about this exciting research project at a pre-Conference field day at Winchmore Research farm on Monday 22 May.

The day will include a tour of the farm and while at Winchmore the women will also look at the results of some irrigation and fertilizer field trials.

The trip will finish with a visit to Andy MacFarlane’s award-winning dairy farm to look at sustainable land management.

The tour leaves from Hotel Ashburton at 10.30am on Monday 22 May, returning by 4pm. Anyone interested in taking part in this day would be most welcome. Please contact Wendy Suttie, phone (03) 308 2085.

RWNZ Background Information

Since 1925 Rural Women New Zealand, formerly known as Women’s Division Federated Farmers, has been a voice for rural women. The organization was started by women who wanted better social and economic conditions for rural people. Since then RWNZ has been at the forefront of rural issues, working to strengthen rural communities.

Whether it be the right of rural people to have access to essential services, equity of educational opportunities at all levels, legislation affecting the welfare of families, broadband access or land access and environmental issues, RWNZ makes its voice heard and presence felt in the halls of Government.
RWNZ has branches and groups spread throughout New Zealand which meet regularly – some for social contact and others to discuss or monitor a specific issue, such as land care RWNZ also provides women with educational and practical skills, opportunities to attend seminars, beef and lamb cooking demonstrations and FarmSafe courses.

RWNZ offers women a well resourced national network, friendship and social activities, leadership training and empowerment, opportunities for lifelong learning and involvement in community development and decision making. In fact there is something there for all rural women, whatever their interests and time available.


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