Chair Update: Andrew Watters

Andrew Watters, Chair of the Board
April 2019

The Trustees held our second Board meeting of the year last week (early April) to address ‘business as usual’ matters focused on running two high quality leadership development programmes as well as the strategic development of the organisation. 

The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (NZRLT) is the operational entity with the Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarship Trust (NFST) now operating as a capital fund for the future reinvestment in Nuffield Farming Scholarships.

Nuffield Scholars at our biennial meetings can elect two (existing or new) trustees to make a total of four Nuffield appointed Trustees, with two independent appointees appointed by our National Advisory Committee made up from our investor partners. We also have an associate Trustee appointed from recent Nuffield scholars.

I reference this because under the Charities Act we must hold our ‘annual’ meeting every year, with the proposed date for the 2018 financial year being Friday 10 May 2019. We will conduct the meeting by a zoom video-conference invite.  During the meeting we will cover off the normal requirements, including the 2018 year-end financial position with the NFST. As requested at last year’s AGM we will provide you with an update on the financial situation with the RLT and we will also provide updates on Nuffield International, the 2020 Triennial, and our Rural Communities project.

As part of the AGM we will provide some feedback on the ‘one kitchen two restaurants’ concept developed five years ago – that saw the NZRLT be formed and take over the operations of both the Kellogg and Nuffield programmes in June 2017. The analysis shows that Kelloggs has been a great contributor to the financial performance of the NZRLT, which in turn has enabled us to improve and extend the Nuffield Scholarship programme.

As a reminder, our two programs are as follows:


  • Develop emerging producer (farming) leaders by fast tracking their leadership pathway through GLOBAL exposure & learning
  • Equip scholars to analyse and untangle wicked /complex problems, thereby enabling effective provide producer input into decision making
  • Experiential learning with the tools to maximise opportunities available
  • High quality research project and global insights delivered to partners, farmers /growers and industry


  • Providing the ideas, capability, motivation and skills to “enable” and empower leaders who can collaborate across sectors and geographically.
  • Providing the tools, skills, and pan sector understanding of NZ AGRIFOOD sector
  • Creating networks/friendships across sectors and country
  • Applying & demonstrating critical analysis, design thinking, strategic analysis, problem /opportunity solving
  • Transferable skills being Collaboration, Creativity and Communication
  • Kelloggs is an ideal pathway development programme into the Nuffield scholarship although candidates can successfully enter the Nuffield program directly.

As the NZRLT our unique proposition as an organisation is:

  • Experiential learning focus and global exposure (Nuffield)
  • The combined Kellogg and Nuffield alumni
  • Our proud and successful history with a positive view of change
  • Our insightful reports
  • Our pan sector representation and national reach

Craige Mackenzie and Anne Hindson attended the recent CSC programme in Iowa in the US. It is pleasing to see our five scholars standing out as a group with their enthusiasm, team work and work ethic. They were well prepared and showed their capability and potential.

Craige represents New Zealand on the international board with the current focus on the financial sustainability of the organisation and delivering on current international scholar commitments. Nuffield International has important goals to extend Nuffield beyond the Commonwealth countries but is still in start-up mode.

Michael Tayler and his able team are making excellent progress on planning for the 2020 Triennial. The combination of the Nuffield New Zealand conference, the Agri-business Summit and the Nuffield 2020 Triennial (10 days from 20 March to 29 March, plus technical tours) makes this job a massive feat to organise with the resources of one contractor, volunteers and some support from NZRLT. We hope all our alumni will take on the host role and be part of the full programme.

Whilst we plan to update you on strategic matters at the AGM, our short-term focus is on building our potential pipeline of people (with an emphasis on farmers and growers) considering our two programmes. To that end we are to repeat our successful regional meeting initiative from 2017 to attract new potential applicants. This time the meetings will be open to both Kellogg and Nuffield applicants; we intend to utilise the meetings, to showcase our best scholars and to discuss the potential Rural Communities project. Our initial focus for meetings is Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, top of the South, Central Otago and Southland. The NZRLT team may be in touch for suggestions and ideas for these meetings.

We look forward to a good discussion at the AGM on May 10th at 12.00pm!

Our programmes work in partnership with some of New Zealand’s leading agribusiness organisations – click here for more.​