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Rural Women Alive!

Rural Women Alive!
No. 73 – 29 February 2008

National Drought Committee

Rural Women New Zealand is part of the Government’s recently formed National Drought Committee, with our National President Margaret Chapman attending weekly meetings in Wellington.
We have recently set up a blog, ‘Droughtspeak’ which you can link to through our RWNZ website.
On the blogsite are details of the National Drought Committee members, its terms of reference and links to resources such as the Meat & Wool NZ Extreme dry management and planning toolkit and the emergency response 0800 number. A key message is for farmers to seek appropriate advice and support early.
This blog is an opportunity for people to read and share information and comments regarding the drought. Go to Click on COMMENT at the bottom of a blog post to add your feedback.

National Council meeting in Wellington
RWNZ National Councillors came to Wellington recently for their first meeting of the year. This included a meeting with Hon Steve Chadwick, Minister of Women’s Affairs. Our Councillors say this was a very productive meeting and they received a good hearing on the issues raised including family violence and safe refuge in rural areas, paid parental leave for seasonal workers, safety around school buses, DHB funding of travel for home carers and post-maternity care for mothers and new babies.
Council is to write to appropriate Ministries asking that Boarding Bursaries be reviewed in light of the continued increase in costs for parents.

Wellington Experience Leadership Programme
This week it was the turn of 15 RWNZ members from around the country to come to the capital for the annual Landcorp-sponsored Wellington Experience Leadership Programme.
The women were kept extremely busy hearing presentations from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Horticulture New Zealand, MAF, NZ Police, Ministry of Health, Department of Labour and Telecom, and still found time for a tour of Parliament. Participants in the programme gained insight into the work of RWNZ at national level, as well as the workings of Ministries and Parliament.

Regional Development Officers meeting
Our seven Regional Development Officers from around the country also came to Wellington for an in-house training programme over two days recently. The feedback was that it was a very worthwhile opportunity to share ideas and information and the RDOs have returned to their regions enthused and keen to help members with their initiatives and membership growth.

Leptospirosis Campaign – Look Lively for Lepto Week – 31 March to 4 April
Our Leptospirosis campaign is continuing to inspire great fundraising efforts from members, branches and provincials around the country. See the calendar of events below for items still to come as we approach ‘Look Lively for Lepto’ week – 31 March to 4 April. If any branches are collecting money, holding raffles etc and would like some Leptospirosis stickers that we have produced to give to people who make donations, please contact National Office (04) 473 5524 or email

Sheep Numbers Decrease
The national number of sheep is now 38.6 million according to Statistics New Zealand, releasing figures from the 2007 Agricultural Production Census. This was down 4% on 2006. Sheep numbers peaked at 70.3 million in 1982. The 2007 figure was the lowest recorded since 1955.

Ozone-Depleting Methyl Bromide Alternatives considered
Twenty-eight possible alternatives to the ozone-depleting gas methyl bromide came under scrutiny yesterday when over 90 government and industry representatives met in Wellington to review the alternatives to methyl bromide use at our borders. Advice was also given by experts from the USA and Australia at the meeting organised by MAF Biosecurity. All countries are being encouraged to reduce use of the gas which is used in quarantine and pre-shipment to kill bugs.

Bio-char and Climate Change
Two new academic positions focused on exploring the uses of fine charcoal known as “bio char” in the fight against greenhouse gases and climate change have been formally established, with the signing of a contract between Massey University and MAF. Biochar is a stable form of carbon that can be incorporated in soil as permanent carbon store, which would potentially create a major carbon sink that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through plant growth and stores it as inert carbon in soils. Areas requiring further investigation include how long the biochar stays fixed in the soil and assurance of its carbon-fixing capacity for the carbon trading market.

Dodgy Potting Mix
Contaminated coconut fibre imported from Sri Lanka in October has been used in potting mix and onsold to around 70 nurseries, plant propagators and growers, mainly in the North Island. As a result approximately 15 new to New Zealand weeds have been identified. The nursery and garden industry is helping MAF Biosecurity to track where product has gone to recover unused mixes and treat potentially affected plants. For further information contact 029 894 0654 – Annie Wright, MAF.

The Health Benefits of Video Games?
Researchers at the University of Auckland are looking for volunteers to take part in a six month study investigating whether active videogames can have a sustained improvement on the health of children. Initial studies have shown that the energy used in playing active video games in short bouts is equavalent to energy expended in more traditional physical activities such as cricket, cycling and walking. The study will focus on the effects on body mass, physical activity and cardio respiratory fitness in children. The eGAME study is looking for children aged 10-14 years who play video games and are living in the Auckland area. Call 0800 4eGAME (0800 4 34263).

World Kidney Day – 13 March
The Ministry of Health last month released its Quality Improvement Plans for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, a move which is intended to cut the number of people with diabetes developing end-stage kidney disease. Diabetes is now the leading cause of kidney disease in NZ – at the end of 2005 there were 1854 New Zealanders on dialysis and for 722 (39%) of them the primary cause was diabetes. A Christchurch Medical School study published last year estimated the cost of treatment of complete kidney failure, with dialysis and transplantation, was $NZ90million annually, with diabetic kidney disease responsible for about 40% of these costs. Those most at risk are Maori and Pacific Islanders, those aged over 50, those who smoke, have high blood pressure or diabetes and those with a family history.
o Cool Kidney fact: Every day our kidneys filter and clean 200 litres of blood – enough to fill 20 buckets!!

Telecommunications Disputes Resolution Scheme
If you have a problem with your telecommuncations company that you are unable to resolve, you may be able to find satisfaction through the Telecommunications Disputes Resolution Scheme. Go to for further details.

ACWW South Pacific Area Conference Perth WA
Our National President (or substitute) will be leading a delegation to the conference being held in Perth from 8-12 September 2008. Contact Marie Appleton if you are intersted in attending as the national delegation will need to be appointed. She also has details of a pre and post tour suggested by WACWA. Registration by 8 April is $A400 or by 8 August is $425.

Women’s World Summit Foundation Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life
The Foundation is calling for nominations for its 15th annual prize for women’s creativity in rural life, honouring creative and courageous women and women’s organisations working to improve the quality of life in rural communities around the world. Previous laureates and their profiles are published on 15-20 prize winners will be selected in 2008 and several of them will be invited to Geneva to personally present their work at an award ceremony on 15 October – World Rural Women’s Day. If you wish to nominate an RWNZ member, please have names to national office by 15 March. We will have to submit applications on a nomination form to be supplied by WWSF, and have to have nominations to them by 31 March.

Conference Wines
Bottles of specially labelled RWNZ Conference wine are available for sale. These are quality wines from Charles Wiffen’s vineyard in Marlborough, with sauvignon blanc, riesling, merlot and pinot noir varieties available. Contact Liz Evans (03) 572 4809 to place your order. You won’t be disappointed.

Welcome to Poatiri Women in Farming members
Poatiri Rural Women in Farming group is a newly formed extension of the long established Poatiri branch of RWNZ. As more women of all ages become interested in ‘lifestyle farming’ and rural issues Poatiri branch sees a great benefit in sharing the experience of RWNZ members. The group encourages diversity of membership. The inaugural meeting of Poatiri WIF will be on March 15 at Pukehiki Community Hall, Highcliff Rd on the Otago Peninsula from 10am to 3pm. Three expert guest speakers will discuss topics including stock selection and management and animal health.

RWNZ Name Badges
White name badges bearing the RWNZ logo can be ordered through Judy Aitken on Cost approx $5 ea.

Bainham Pictorial History
Four Bainham Branch members are involved in the Bainham Reunion Committee’s launch of a pictorial history coffee table book “Between the Ports – Collingwood to Waitapu” by Carol Dawber and Cheryl Win, published by River Press . The photos come from museums and private collections telling the story of early settlers in the area and cover gold mining, timber transport, farming and family life. Contact Carolyn on email

News from Fordell/Mangamahu branch
Fordell Mangamahu have got the year off to a flying start with a visit in January to Paloma The gardens are renowned for their succulents and bamboo and attract visitors from around the world. The Branch donated an engraved silver cup to both Fordell and Mangamahu Schools to use as they saw fit and also a sum towards tree planting along the main road of Fordell.

1 March 2008 - Rai Valley branch launch of the Inaugural Smallholders Auction for Nelson and Marlborough as part of the Rai Valley A&P Show. The auction is aimed at smallholders, lifestylers and people who either want to sell, or buy, a small number of livestock or equipment eg: sheep, goats, a cow, chooks etc. For more information call Diane Paton 03 571 6365 or Tania Lawrence, 03 571 6147 email:

2 March – Central Taranaki Provincial Golf Tournament – Mixed Ambrose Tournament at the Stratford Golf Club. Contact Leptospirosis Fundraiser.

4 March – Amuri WIF – Cattle genetics with Russell Priest from Palmerston North – partners welcome. Any queries phone Sue (03) 315 6244.

5 March - Central Otago Women in Agribusiness. 9.45am meet at Succulents Wine Bar and Café in Roxburgh for coffee. Then on to Ettrick to meet Judith who will talk about the business she operates growing and selling unusual varieties of vegetables. Focus on business aspects, view the garden and the range of produce she sells at the Dunedin Farmers Market. Followed by lunch. $5 for members, $10 for non members. Replies to Margaret (03) 445 1201 or email

7 March – Fordell Mangamahu Branch talk from two members’ husbands who went to Uruguay last year as part of a PGG Wrightson’s group to look at investments in and farming techniques of that country. Email Lesley at

8 March – Pauatahanui Women in Farming – Good Things Come out of the Blue day – Blueberry Farm visit and setting up a small horticultural business from scratch – from paddock to product – Tel: Jackie (04) 2356 359 for more information.

9-11 March 2008 – Conference - Region 5 – ‘Rimanui’ (Coromandel, East Coast, Rotorua area) – First guest speaker is Don Moore, veterinary surgeon at Edgecumbe Veterinary Clinic on the topic of Leptospirosis.
11 March – Hokonui Branch pub quiz night – Celtic Hotel. Leptospirosis fundraiser. For more info email
12-13 March 2008 – Conference – Region 6 – ‘Wainaki’ (Taranaki and Waikato area), Otarohanga, Waipa King Country. Theme “Conquering the Challenge of Change”.
12 March 2008 – Conference – Region 3 – ‘Top of the South’ (West Coast, Marlborough, Nelson, Kaikoura area)
13, 14, 15 March – Central Region will be flying the flag at the Central Districts Field Days in the Rural Lifestyle Pavilion. Theme is Leptospirosis Research.


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