New lead­ers named


Two of the coun­try’s most prom­i­nent women-in-farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions have new na­tional lead­ers.

Ru­ral Women NZ an­nounced Wendy McGowan as the new na­tional pres­i­dent at the an­nual meet­ing in Wellington, while the Dairy Women’s Net­work Trust Board has an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Zelda de Vil­liers as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

McGowan said she first joined Ru­ral Women as a shy 20-year-old and found so­lace in the group af­ter she mar­ried a North Is­land farmer and moved to a com­mu­nity where she knew no-one.

‘‘The group in­tro­duced me to the com­mu­nity. They gave a very shy per­son lit­tle jobs and built her con­fi­dence and here I am, 39 years later, hav­ing pro­ceeded right through to the top.’’

McGowan has pre­vi­ously served a three-year term as na­tional vice-pres­i­dent, and has been the na­tional coun­cil­lor for Bay of Plenty/ Coro­man­del for the past eight years, tak­ing a spe­cial in­ter­est in land use is­sues, biose­cu­rity and food safety.

As na­tional pres­i­dent, she hopes to make the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s branch struc­ture more vis­i­ble to help grow mem­ber­ship.

‘‘As na­tional pres­i­dent I will build on our or­gan­i­sa­tion’s goals and as­pi­ra­tions to be dy­namic, vi­brant, lead­ing, in­no­va­tive and vis­i­ble at all lev­els,’’ she said.

McGowan be­lieves com­mu­nity-ori­ented or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Ru­ral Women are as rel­e­vant to­day as ever.

‘‘Ru­ral Women NZ’s in­ter­est in land, health, ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­nity is­sues need our at­ten­tion and ad­vo­cacy, just as they did in the 1920s.

‘‘Th­ese ar­eas need to re­main vi­able and read­ily avail­able to the ru­ral com­mu­nity. En­cour­ag­ing women liv­ing in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties to voice their con­cerns and sup­port for one another is what we do well.’’

McGowan and her hus­band, Rusty, farm a 260 hectare dairy sup­port unit in Ka­haroa in the Bay of Plenty.

She is also an en­rolled nurse and works as a ca­sual play spe­cial­ist at Ro­torua Hos­pi­tal’s Chil­dren’s Unit.

De Vil­liers is set to start in the Hamil­ton-based role of Dairy Women’s Net­work chief ex­ec­u­tive in Jan­uary.

Cur­rently the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of De Laval, de Vil­liers has more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­ter­na­tional agri­cul­tural in­dus­try. Fair­fax NZ

CEO: Zelda de Vil­liers is the new chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Dairy Women’s Net­work Trust Board.

NEW LEADER: Wendy McGowan is the new na­tional pres­i­dent of Ru­ral Women NZ.

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