Cel­e­bra­tion of coun­try val­ues


As sheep, beef and dairy farm­ers, what we do mat­ters.

I could roll out the num­bers – bil­lions of dol­lars in ex­port re­ceipts gen­er­ated by the whole sup­ply chain and, of course, that’s the end re­sult – but what we do goes far deeper than a num­ber on the bot­tom line.

It’s about the in­tegrity and qual­ity of our prod­ucts.

It’s about the stew­ard­ship and man­age­ment of our land. And it’s about peo­ple. What we do on farm mat­ters to con­sumers – both on and off­shore – and to in­ter-re­lated in­dus­tries, such as meat ex­porters and pro­ces­sors.

It mat­ters to the peo­ple in­ter­twined with our farms, like our chil­dren and staff, con­trac­tors and shear­ers. It mat­ters to vets, ac­coun­tants, truck­ing com­pa­nies and re­tail­ers.

It mat­ters to the com­mu­ni­ties that we live in – to our schools, our play­groups and our lo­cal garage owner.

And it mat­ters to NZ Inc.

How lucky I feel to be part of a broad com­mu­nity where my chil­dren have the op­por­tu­nity to learn the in­trin­sic val­ues that go hand-in-hand with coun­try life.

Th­ese coun­try val­ues were demon­strated so well at the Hun­ter­ville Hunt­away Fes­ti­val ear­lier this month, when we ex­pe­ri­enced a small com­mu­nity com­ing to­gether to put on a se­ries of chal­leng­ing events for chil­dren, teens and shep­herds with their hunt­aways. In the ‘‘She­moz­zle’’, hun­dreds of par­tic­i­pants ran up steep hills, slid down mud slides, ate and drank such del­i­ca­cies as sar­dines and vine­gar, car­ried bulls’ testes in their mouths, plucked pos­sums, the list goes on . . .

The grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion needed to com­plete the chal­lenges, over­come the un­known (and, in the case of the eat­ing, over­come the gag re­flex) and the sat­is­fac­tion of suc­cess on fin­ish­ing were all part of the event. A sense of com­mu­nity, par­tic­i­pa­tion, grit, en­ergy and con­fi­dence – all th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered to us by the won­der­ful peo­ple of Hun­ter­ville.

It re­minded me that we don’t just ‘‘con­trib­ute’’ to a com­mu­nity. We ac­tu­ally ‘‘be­long’’ to it. We shape it – and it shapes us.

Kirsten Bryant is Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s western North Is­land di­rec­tor and can be con­tacted at oneida.hills@xtra.co.nz

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