Rural Leaders New Zealand

The Rural Leader

March 2023

Welcome to the March issue of the Rural Leader. 

Nuffield Alumni will have heard of the passing of Alan Grant, 1988 Scholar. This sad news just missed us for the last Rural Leader. Our thoughts go to Alan’s widow, Alison, family and friends. Alison has asked that the link to Alan’s funeral, held on Thursday, 2 March, be shared. 

The Rural Leaders Agribusiness Summit has been and gone and the Nuffield Triennial ended with a Gala Dinner in Queenstown on Saturday 1 April. In this issue we share a summary of the Nuffield Triennial and the Agribusiness Summit. 

In this month’s Ideas that Grow Podcast, the Summit’s Keynote Speaker, Devry Boughner Vorwerk shares a little about her talk and what she experienced here in New Zealand.

Chris Parsons, Rural Leaders CEO, wrote a short paper for the NZIPIM Journal (Volume 30, March 2023) a few weeks ago. Called ‘Global Thinking’. It looks at how the stability in the world we may have taken for granted, has now gone – meaning food and fibre leaders may need to re-learn how to trade. 

Last year, The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (FFCoVE) requested Rural Leaders carry out research into the state of leader development in the Food and Fibre sector. We share the phase one report.  

Kellogg Programme Two starts in June at Lincoln. If you’re planning to apply we encourage you to get your application in this week. Last month’s podcast with Dr Scott Champion, Programme Director, is also worth a listen. Applications close 16 April. 

The next stage of the Mackenzie Study has been completed and we will share in the next Rural Leader. It adds the Kellogg survey findings to the Nuffield findings. Combined, this data gives a world-class evidence base documenting the entrepreneurial capability building that takes place during the Kellogg and Nuffield leadership development programmes. 

And finally, in a new monthly piece called ‘The Rural Reader’. Dr Patrick Aldwell, Kellogg Academic Director, shares his picks for a good read. This month is Tragedy at Pike River Mine – How and why 29 men died, by Rebecca Macfie. 

We hope you enjoy this issue of the Rural Leader. 

The Team at Rural Leaders. 

Alan Grant (1947-2023), 1988 Nuffield Scholar.

Nuffield Alumni will have heard of the passing of Alan Grant, 1988 Scholar. Our thoughts go to Alan’s widow, Alison, his family and friends. Alison has asked that the link to Alan’s funeral be shared. You can find this link below.

Here’s a quote from the service by Alan’s brother Murray Grant.

“…Alan developed an avid interest in agricultural organisations and agri-politics. He sat on several local farming boards, was an active member of Federated Farmers, which culminated in a couple of terms on the New Zealand Meat Board.

In 1987 he was the recipient of a Nuffield Scholarship and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship soon after…incidentally the Nuffield Triennial Conference was an event he was very much looking forward to.”

Here is the link to the live stream of the funeral service for Alan. 

Ideas that grow podcast.

Devry Boughner Vorwerk: Getting Grounded in the Humanverse - the opportunity for New Zealand farmers.

In this month’s podcast, Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Summit Keynote Speaker, talks about the ‘Humanverse’, and breaks down some of the key points from her session at the 2023 Rural Leaders Agribusiness Summit.

The Humanverse asks farmers to take a bigger picture view by building longer term strategies – instead of dealing only with immediate challenges. It asks farmers to look beyond the boundaries of the farm and to be open to adopting innovative production methods.

Listen to the podcast below or follow this link to read the transcript.

Global Thinking. An article by Chris Parsons for NZIPIM’s The Journal.

 “If the Food and Fibre Sector is to thrive in an era of change we need leaders who can think globally and act strategically.”

Chris Parsons, CEO Rural Leaders shares some truths for producers, professionals and policymakers who will need navigate increasing political and environmental volatility.

On environmental volitility: “Climate change is fundamentally altering the grand bargain we have with the planet.”

On political volitility: “According to the Democracy Index 2022, democracy reached a high point in 2015, but has been in decline since.”

You can download the full article here.

The state of leadership development in New Zealand’s Food and Fibre sector.

The first phase of the research identified six key principles of leadership as being most important for Food and Fibre leaders.

We share the full report and ask for your help by completing a survey, the results of which will help inform phase two of the research.

The report, a report summary video and a short survey are included in this article.

You can read the article here.

The 2023 Rural Leaders Agribusiness Summit Summary.

We’re hearing good things from people who attended the Summit. There was a good feeling on the day, not just in terms of the quality of discussion and debate generated by the speakers, but also the genuine connection between people.

We were thrilled with the turnout. It exceeded our expectations.

Here’s a social post from Julia Jones, who spoke during the Summit.

“Thanks for this opportunity Rural Leaders to be part of this event, it was such a special gift to make a pig of myself at the trough of knowledge is hugely appreciated. Lessons galore were gleaned from speakers and attendees a like 🙏”

We share some more thoughts from the social posts of attendees.

Nuffield Triennial International Conference.

2023 Nuffield Triennial Conference Committee. From left: Steve Wilkins, Hamish Marr, Deborah Wootton, Michael Tayler (Nuffield Conference Chair), Annie Chant, John Wright, Murray King (Rural Leaders Summit Chair), Rebecca Hyde, Kate Scott, Daniela Ophert. Absent: Ryan O’Sullivan, Hamish Fraser.

“…it has been a privilege to spend the past week with delegates. We hope that they have enjoyed themselves, renewed old friendships, made new ones and have gained insights and knowledge they can take back to their respective fields.”

Nuffield Triennial Conference Committee Chair, Michael Tayler.

Take a look at some of the highlights from the Triennial Conference.

One week until applications close for Kellogg Lincoln, Programme Two.

In last month’s Ideas That Grow Podcast, Dr Scott Champion, Programme Director, talked about what Scholars can expect to learn and gain from participation.

The Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme offers strategic leadership development for food and fibre leaders in a fast-changing landscape.

If you, or others in your network, are ready to step up in 2023 to develop the skills and tools to lead change – why not shoulder-tap them to apply by 16 April 2023

Kellogg Programme Two, Lincoln: 13 June – 30 November 2023 

Phase One (Lincoln): Tuesday 13 June – Wednesday 21 June 2023. 
Phase Two (Wellington): Monday 11 September – Friday 15 September 2023. 
Phase Three (Lincoln): Monday 27 November – Thursday 30 November 2023. 

Māori Agribusiness Insights from Kellogg Scholars.

The report summaries contained in this third edition of the Kellogg Rural Scholars Series cover topics that range from, the Māori economy, indigenous branding, Te Ao Māori, Whenua Māori, and social issues.

The reports are written by Scholars who seek to reflect a Te Ao Māori (world view) and/or Tikanga (Māori values) lens on many of the important challenges in Food and Fibre. They are written by people living and working in the Sector.

This edition offers 15 summaries of the Scholars’ full reports. The full reports can be found at

Kellogg Networking Event – Christchurch 26 March, 2023.

Image shows Alby Hanson, Event Organiser and Kellogger, thanking attendees.

Kellogg alumni took the opportunity on a Sunday night (26th March) to come together ahead of the Rural Leaders Agribusiness Summit in Christchurch. 

It was a chance for alumni to network across Kellogg cohorts, form new connections and catch up ahead of a great day of speakers at the Summit. Thank you to all who attended (some 30+ Kellogg alumni), it was a great event. 

Alumni in the spotlight.

Alumni in the Spotlight: Kate Scott and Jenni Vernon.

Kate Scott, 2018 Nuffield Scholar.

Congratulations to our very own Rural Leaders Board Chair Kate Scott on winning the 2023 Rabobank Emerging Leader Award, a trans-Tasman business award that recognises outstanding up-and-coming agri-industry talent.

Jenni Vernon, 1994 Nuffield Scholar.

Jenni Vernon has spent more than four decades in farming and governance, and was the first female Nuffield Scholar and the first woman chair of Environment Waikato.

Jenni takes over from outgoing President James Allen, 2023 Nuffield Scholar, who provided leadership during the uncertainty of COVID19.

You can read more in a LinkedIn post from New Zealand National Fieldays Society here.

The Rural Reader - Book reviews by Dr Patrick Aldwell.

Dr Patrick Aldwell, Academic Director – Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme reads more books than most. Patrick is a firm believer in lifelong learning and often recommends what turn out to be
excellent books to us. So, we asked him if he would like to recommend a few to you.

In this, the first ‘Rural Reader’, Patrick reviews Tragedy at Pike River. How and why 29 men died.

News from our Partners.

Rabobank reports rise in farmer confidence.

Todd Charteris, Rabobank New Zealand CEO said the uptick in confidence came despite incredibly challenging climatic conditions for many of New Zealand’s primary producers during the early part of 2023. 
“With Cyclone Gabrielle battering much of the North Island in February, and parts of the lower South Island impacted by drought in recent months, it really has been a tough start to the year for the country’s farmers and growers,” he said. 

Read the article here.

Leadership opportunities

FMG Member Director nominations are open.

If you would like to stand for FMG’s Board of Directors, please click here to read The Policy, which sets out the criteria for the evaluation of Member Director candidates, including current Directors. Applications to stand for election close on Wednesday, 26 April.

Send us your feedback.

We’d like to know what you think of the Rural Leader and of you have any ideas on how we could improve it. 

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