Chris Parsons on Sarah’s Country

Chris Parsons, CEO of Rural Leaders talks to Sarah Perriam about leadership in the primary sector and Rural Leader’s mission to grow world class leaders in our country.

Or you can listen to the podcast here:

If the interview sparked your interest in Nuffield Scholarships, go to ruralleaders.co.nz/nuffield to find out more.

Applications for the 2021 intake are OPEN NOW and closing soon – on 23 August 2020!

There are five scholarships available, each worth $40,000, for New Zealand farmers, growers and agribusiness professionals looking to broaden your horizons, grow your networks and gain some global experience in the agri sector.

Click here to find out how you can do that through the Nuffield Scholarship Programme.

Our New Programme Partner – Rabobank, and more…

Meet our new Programme Partner - Rabobank

Rabobank NZ

We welcomed Rabobank on board as a Programme Partner in January this year and look forward to working with them and tapping into their extensive international and national networks and expertise. As the only Co-op bank focused on the Rural Sector, we could not have signed up a better partner. Relationships are two-way so we urge you to consider Rabobank for your banking requirements and to tap into their extensive resources below.

Rabobank Research Podcasts

Rabobank’s global team of 90 food and agribusiness analysts regularly record podcasts where they discuss the latest developments in food & agri sectors & provide insights on what these developments mean for kiwi farmers.

The podcasts are a fast and easy way to gain a better understanding of how Covid-19 and other key industry developments are likely to impact your business. 

To check out the podcasts, search for ‘Rabobank’ on your favourite podcast app & subscribe or you can access the podcasts on their website or follow this link to the Rabobank website.

Strategic Partner Agmardt – re-signs partner agreement

We are delighted that our our relationship with Agmardt will continue for the next  three years, following the re-signing of their Strategic Partner agreement with Rural Leaders.

We cannot acknowledge enough the incredible support provided by Agmardt to our programmes and events.

Vote Now! DairyNZ Levy Vote

The DairyNZ levy vote is open. 

Please make sure you vote and  get others to vote also. Now more than ever we need a dairy organisation representing the industry at government policy level, doing scientific research, and supporting many programmes including leadership and people capability for the sector. 

Click here to VOTE NOW!  

News from Rural Leaders

Rural Leaders welcomes new CEO – Chris Parsons


We are pleased to announce that Chris Parsons joined us on Monday, 4th May as our new CEO. Chris was recently interviewed by Rural News and would like to convey the following message:

“To all of you on the journey to develop your leadership, well done! It is a transformative journey. The learnings you absorb over the Kellogg course will have life long impact, not only improving the quality of your connections with others but also in multiplying your ability for positive impact. Leadership is a life-long journey and I look forward to journeying with you. “

Read the full interview at Rural news here

At the end of April we farewelled Anne Hindson who has led Rural Leaders from its inception. Her early pioneering work with Patrick Aldwell and Richard Green and Tony Zwart has been critical to the coordination of the iconic Nuffield and Kellogg Leaders programmes and their continual modernisation to ensure that modern scholars get world class leadership development.

We were sad to see Anne go, but grateful for her vision and commitment to the primary sector and Rural Leaders over the last six years. 

Rural Leader’s Board appoints new Trustee – Kate Scott


At our recent AGM the Rural Leaders Board welcomed Kate Scott (2018 Nuffield Scholar) as a new Trustee, who replaced James Parsons. The Board will also be seeking to elect a new Independent appointed Trustee, following the recent resignation of Louise Webster.

Nicky Barton – Old Dogs, New Tricks

Nicky Barton’s research that she carried out on the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme revealed ‘some interesting interactions between age and health and safety behaviours on-farm.’ Read more in this ODT article : https://www.odt.co.nz/…/rural-l…/farmer-deaths-correlate-age

Nicky is the marketing and communications media manager for Worksafe and graduated from the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme in 2019.

Click here to read Nicky’s Kellogg research report ‘Old dogs, new tricks : An exploration of age and its influence on health and safety in New Zealand’s primary sector.’ 

Lisa Portas – Showing people what we’re about

Lisa Portas who is an Expansion Manager at Palliser Ridge, a Sheep & Beef Farm in South Wairarapa graduated from the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme in 2019.

Her research report  ‘Farmer Storytelling : Navigating our Narrative‘ focuses on helping farmers to tell their stories to help explain to urban New Zealanders the realities of life on the land and the contribution the primary sector makes to the country. 

Lisa featured on Global HQ’s OnFarm Story this week in her video  “Showing People What We’re About.”  Click here to watch the video.


FoodHQ is delighted to be able to offer a limited number of scholarships for young professionals and postgraduate students with food/agriculture related interests to attend the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) conference in Rotterdam in June 2020  (https://ifama2020.org/) and participate in the IFAMA Student Case Study competition. 

Click here to see if your are eligible to apply.

The case study competition is held on the Sunday, June 23rd and involves teams from all over the world working on a given case study with very relevant global food and agribusiness issues, devising various solutions to its problems and then presenting the results of their analysis, the options and their chosen strategy to a panel of judges. It is a unique experience and one that previous participants from NZ have thoroughly enjoyed being part of. The opportunity to get to know the competition and see how different geographies unbundle the same case differently is a special global experience.

We are seeking high-calibre applicants who are future leaders in agrifood from a diverse range of backgrounds.  Prof Nicola Shadbolt from Massey University and several Mentors with experience within the agrifood sector will coach the case study competition entrants as well as accompanying the group throughout their visit, providing insights and further learning as appropriate.

We will also be arranging an in-market experience consisting of visits to interesting agrifood businesses in Europe as part of the programme.  It is likely that this will consist of 3-4 days prior to the conference.  Scholarship winners will also have the option of extending their visit to Europe to pursue their own itinerary or joining some or all of the International Horticulture Immersion Programme that will be running a course in Europe and Asia starting shortly after IFAMA concludes.

The scholarship includes return flights to Europe, transport related to the in-market experience, accommodation and conference fees.  Scholarship recipients will need to be able to cover other costs (including those related to visas/passports, meals, spending money) themselves.

Attached is a guide to the scholarships and an application form.  If you or someone you know is interested then please check your eligibility using the flowchart within this document, and if you do qualify then please complete and return the application form and your CV by the 27th Jan 2020.  Please note the requirement for Young Professionals to have completed their most recent university-level studies no earlier than June 2017 and for Postgraduates to have been still enrolled in a course in Dec 2019.

Please feel free to pass this information through your networks across NZ who you think may be interested – there is no restriction on where the applicants are or have studied.

If you have any questions please contact:  Abby Thompson, 021 774 864, abby@foodhq.com.

General Manager Update: Anne Hindson

Our final E newsletter for the year is slightly later than planned and will hit you as you are winding down for the Xmas break. We hope that this later timing might mean you have some holiday reading!!

With the year now completed for the Nuffield Scholarships and the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programmes, focus is now on 2020 with the Kellogg programmes starting on 21 January, closely followed by the largest event we have ever hosted, the Nuffield2020 Triennial in March.

We have reviewed our intention to combine our two e-newsletters and decided to remain with separate communications due to targeted interests and potential level of content. So you can expect to continue to receive the dedicated programme updates as well as this generic operational update.

Quarterly Update (Sept – Dec 2019)


We are thrilled to introduce a new addition to the team with the appointment of Tamney Hoyle, our new full time Marketing Manager, responsible for driving all our internal and external marketing and communications.  Tamney’s most recent role was with PGG Wrightson where she led the marketing efforts for PGG Wrightson’s Livestock, Wool and Standardbred business units.  Since starting in October she was immediately seconded into the marketing of the International Agribusiness Summit on 23 March, to our Kellogg alumni and the wider NZ agri food sector.

Our future strategy and work plan has been a key focus in the latter part of this year with Scott Champion from Provenanz, (and Kellogg Programme Leader), working with myself, and Louise Webster (Independent Trustee) on refining our strategy and action plan for the organisation for the next 24 months. To be presented to the Board in January, the focus has been on further developing current programmes, new initiatives, alumni, sponsor and stakeholder engagement and delivery.

The search for a replacement for my role of CEO, has started. As already communicated, I will finish up at the end of April 2020 after the Nuffield2020 event with a replacement coming on board earlier for a handover.  I look forward to farewelling Kelloggers at the Summit in March, or before I depart.

Kellogg Scholars

We had two great cohorts of Kelloggers complete their programme in 2019. While Course 39 completed in July, we have not yet profiled their reports, so have included these with the Course 40 list in this email.

We continue to attract more diverse sectors which creates great discussions and learnings.

Alumni Recognised

Our recent scholars have been doing us proud with some impressive appointments and acknowledgements. Firstly Mel Poulton (Nuffield 2014 alumni) was announced as the replacement for Mike Peterson (Kellogg alumni) to the role of NZ’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade & Export. Lucy Griffiths was appointed to the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures), Independent Investment Advisory Panel who have a big job distributing $40m of government funding.

2017 Scholar, and past Assoc. NZRLT Board member Mat Hocken,  became the first kiwi to receive the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award at a formal function in Auckland on 28 November.   We have had Kelloggers featuring in the On Farm stories with recent Kellogger Lisa Portas about to appear in Country Calendar in the New Year.

New Investing Partner Announced

In conjunction with the recent Rabobank Awards, Rabobank NZ announced a new partnership with Rural Leaders as a Programme Partner. This finally secures a banking partner for the organisation. Rabobank was the logical and best fit as a banking partner as a truly agricultural focused bank and a cooperative with a strong history of association. Both parties are looking forward to growing the relationship and alumni support.

Meanwhile MPI have also recently re-signed as a Programme Partner of Rural Leaders and a partner with the Triennial and we thank them for their support and that of the Minister, Damien O’Connor.

Alumni Regional Event Plans

After the six successful Regional Alumni events held this year we have plans to extend this next year into 6 different regions in May and June. The seminars connect together our alumni across both programmes, our investing partners and potential new scholars as well as provide an opportunity to hear some recent research from a local Kellogg or Nuffield scholar.

Alongside the 6 new regions we will be trialling locally coordinated seminars in 1 – 2 regions from last year, expanding the focus.

For more information about the Seminars contact us at programmes@ruralleaders.co.nz.

2019 Year Highlights

As we finish 2019, it is great to reflect on the highlights of the last 12 months.

‘Behind the Scenes’

  • Continued support and contribution of our investing Strategic and Programme Partners to our programmes and their promotion which has meant a financially sustainable organisation.
  • Exciting new appointments to the Board and Management team

‘Delivering on our Purpose’

  • Graduated 54 industry leaders with 54 new pieces of rural research for industry
  • Delivered 6 regional alumni events as a first up initiative to engage ongoing thought leadership and connection at regional level
  • Hosted a Nuffield International GFP New Zealand leg in Nelson & Marlborough in April and scholars rated it the best part of their 6 week programme – thanks to our alumni hosts John Palmer, Julian Raine, Murray King, Andy Elliot, John Murphy and Hamish Murray and family.
  • A year’s activity putting together an incredible 11 day Nuffield2020 programme that includes 27 separate field trip options, access to iconic stations and an international Summit by Michael Tayler and his Organising team

‘In the Public view’ 

  • Current and recent scholars active in Industry presentations and industry advisory groups including a Global Insights Forum with investing partners from 2019 Scholars
  • Increased significantly the media coverage and exposure of Kellogg & Nuffield projects supported by our media partnerships with $145,000 value
  • Ongoing features of Kellogg and Nuffield alumni in On Farm Stories
  • Kellogger Lisa Portas, scheduled for Country Calendar programme early in 2020.

The Rural Leaders Team

Our vision of “Confident Rural Leaders Fit for the Future” and the achievement of the steps toward this could not be achieved without the ongoing contribution and dedication of the following:

Rural Leaders Team:  CEO, Anne Hindson, Programme Coordinator Lisa Rogers, Marketing & Comms Manager Tamney Hoyle, Kellogg Programme Leader Scott Champion, Kellogg Project Advisor Patrick Aldwell & Nuffield Advisor, Hamish Gow.

The Trustees:  Andrew Watters (Chair), Hamish Fraser, Michael Tayler, James Parsons, Craige Mackenzie, Louise Webster, Associate Rebecca Hyde

Strategic partner representatives: (National Advisory Group) Dairy NZ Jenny Jago; Agmardt – Malcolm Nitsche; Beef + Lamb NZ – Doug Macredie; FMG – Andrea Brunner; Mackenzie Charitable Foundation –  Mary Ross.

Programme Partners: Farmlands, FAR, Horticulture NZ, Zespri, MPI, TIAA

From us all, at Rural Leaders, we wish all alumni and their partners  a great Xmas and happy holidays.