Rural Leaders New Zealand

The Rural Leader

Your latest issue.

Tēnā koutou,

welcome to this latest Issue of the Rural Leader during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week).

Nuffield Scholarships, Kellogg 50 Phase Two in Wellington, the Engage Programme, the Value Chain Innovation Programme, along with several upcoming events, and things are, well, humming along.

In this issue’s Ideas that Grow Podcast, Julian Reti Kaukau, 2021 Kellogg Scholar, talks to Bryan Gibson, Farmers Weekly managing editor about his Kellogg research and shares insights from his work with MPI Māori Agribusiness.

In reference to his research, Julian reflects on the historic prowess of the Waikato Maniapoto Māori in the Agriculture and Horticulture sectors. He suggests that by harnessing the wisdom of the ancestors, today’s Kaitiaki can make profound and impactful economic and sustainable decisions for the Whenua and their futures.

There are a few days left to apply for the Value Chain Innovation Programme. The Programme begins on 12 November in Auckland. This one-week immersion across the North Island’s leading value chains is a unique offering ideal for those who want to gain an entrepreneurial edge. 

The 2024 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarship applications we received were strong and came from a wide industry spread. Each year we award up to five Scholarships, the next recipients will be announced publicly in early November at the Nuffield Awards in Wellington. We share some of the key numbers from the 2024 applicants.

A full cohort on Kellogg Programme Two (K50) has just completed Phase Two in Wellington. They gained valuable insights into how to engage and influence decision making at a local, regional, central government and industry level.

Applications for 2024’s Programme One close 22 October. It’s already looking like many are wanting to start 2024 off with leadership development and personal growth. 

The feedback is in on the pilot programme for Engage, developed and delivered with Lincoln University and with funding from the Ministry for the Environment. The overwhelmingly positive comments from participants bode well for the delivery of at least two Engage Programmes next year and beyond – likely to be in February and May.

In Alumni in the Spotlight, we share news on Nuffield Scholars Dan Steele, Mat Hocken, and Cameron Henderson.

Dr Patrick Aldwell reviews Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. 

Oh, and we’re also chuffed to again be Beef + Lamb New Zealand Award Finalists, in the Rabobank People Development category. The Awards Dinner will be held Thursday 19 October at Te Pae in Christchurch. We’ll be there.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

The Team at Rural Leaders

Ideas that grow podcast.

Julian Reti Kaukau: Bridging the connection between our people and the whenua.

In this podcast, Julian Reti Kaukau, 2021 Kellogg Scholar talks to Farmers Weekly Managing Editor, Bryan Gibson about his Kellogg research and his mahi with MPI Māori Agribusiness.

Julian believes by harnessing the wisdom of the ancestors who once nurtured the Whenua, today’s Kaitiaki can make profound and impactful economic and sustainable decisions for the Whenua and their futures.

Listen to the podcast below or click here to listen to the podcast or read the transcript.

Inspiring value chain change - Book your place on 2023’s Value Chain Innovation Programme.

Applications for the Value Chain Innovation Programme close Sunday, midnight.

Nuffield Scholars have had the opportunity to participate in this unique value chain immersion, whether that was 2021’s ‘World Tour of New Zealand’ pilot programme, or the first Value Chain Innovation Programme, held last year.

Should you decide to join, your fellow participants will be a mix of mid to senior level leaders, with some looking to develop new businesses.

2022’s cohort found the Programme inspiring and informative. Here’s comment from Allan Richardson a 2022 Value Chain Programme participant.

“The Value Chain Innovation Programme was an action-packed week with highly motivated people from every industry in the sector. We saw the leading adopters of value chain innovation, they told us their pathways to success, often with one-on-one contact.

Just as important has been the new network of industry leaders that I travelled with, and now keep in contact with.” Allan Richardson

You can learn more about the programme in a short article here, including further comment from another programme participant Fonterra’s Satwant Singh.

Take a read of the short article here.

The search for 2024’s Nuffielders is nearly over.

The search for our next Nuffield Scholars has been a rewarding experience for all involved. To see the first indications of interest develop into an application – you get to know the people, many have applied before, many haven’t, and some may have had Nuffield on their minds for a while.

Each year we see more and stronger applicants. The applicant demographic profile shifts and changes a little over time, but they always share such leadership traits as: pragmatism, passion, courage, and self-awareness.

Take a read of a short article on the journey to an application – from a marketer’s perspective at least. We also break down key (anonymous) numbers from this year’s applicant group.

Kellogg Programme Two, Phase Two (the 50th cohort).

Every Kellogg cohort represents a unique mix of industries, passion and personality. 2023’s Programme Two has the distinction of being our 50th Kellogg cohort.

From the Programme’s beginnings in 1979, fifty groups of rural leaders will take, or have taken their personal and professional development to the next level. In turn each scholar grows; playing a part in lifting sector leadership capability.

We’ll be celebrating this 50th cohort’s graduation with an event, open to Kellogg alumni, our partners and close network in late November. If you are Kellogg alumni, and haven’t received an invite, please do get in touch with us.

For now this cohort has just completed Phase Two in Wellington (today in fact). They’re back in Lincoln on 27 November for their Phase Three, which means presenting their final research to peers and industry.

What’s different this time though, is the event at the end of the week – 30 November, both celebrating their individual achievement and marking the end of the 50th Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.

22 October – another key date for Kellogg.

The 22 October is coming up fast. If you’re looking to boost your leadership, career and professional development trajectory in 2024, lock in Kellogg Programme One by 22 October. 

2023 Kellogg Programme graduate and now alumnus, Richard Dawkins, shares a comment on his recent Kellogg experience and adds,

“If you wish to develop your leadership capability further, invest in your future and apply for the Kellogg Programme.”

Here are 2024’s key Kellogg dates.
Programme One, Lincoln: 23 January – 4 July 2024

Phase One (Lincoln):
Tuesday 23 January – Wednesday 31 January 2024.
Phase Two (Wellington):
Monday 8 April – Friday 12 April 2024.
Phase Three (Lincoln):
Monday 1 July – Thursday 4 July 2024.

Applications close Sunday 22 October, 2023.
Applications close Sunday 22 October, 2023.
Apply for 2024’s Programme One now.

Programme Two, Lincoln: 11 June – 28 November 2024

Applications close Sunday 14 April, 2024.

Apply for 2024’s Programme Two now.

Got a spare 7 minutes? Take a look at our Kellogg Brochure here.

Alumni in the spotlight.

Alumni in the Spotlight: Dan Steele, Mat Hocken, and Cameron Henderson.

In this Alumni in the Spotlight we look at three Nuffield Scholars, one is about to go into print with a book. Two are seeking election on boards – let’s support them.

Dan Steele, 2015 Nuffield Scholar.
Dan runs Blue Duck Station with his wife Sandy, family and team. It’s a special part of the country, set alongside Whanganui National Park, where the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers meet.

The great news is we can all get a taste of life on Blue Duck Station with a soon to be published book called Blue Duck Station: The land, the rivers and the people.

In this book, by Nicola McCloy, readers will be introduced to the people, the places and the history of the Station where traditional farming, adventure and environmental initiatives go hand in hand.

Dan says, “This is such a rich, historical, scenic and mystical area that is close to the hearts of so many and gets under your skin when you see it. As the backcountry is struggling, as pines are taking over, conservation is at our forefront.”

Nicola McCloy is an Auckland-based editor, writer, and researcher who grew up in Southland.

You can read the full press release here.

The book is to be published in October, so look out for it late this year or get in touch with publicist Lise Clayton below.

RRP $69.99, Publishing October 2023, ISBN: 978-1-77689-045-3, Format: 230 x 285mm, landscape, 256 pages, full colour, PLC, hardback. For details contact publicist Lise Clayton,

We interviewed Dan on Ideas That Grow during lockdown, September 2021. You can listen to Dan’s excellent podcast here.

Mat Hocken, 2017 Nuffield Scholar.
Mat is running for a director role with LIC. Based in the Manawatu, he and his family operate a fourth generation family farm of 450ha with 950 dairy cows and beef.

“I bring hands-on farming experience and deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by NZ farmers, with broad primary sector knowledge in governance and commercial roles across agriculture, technology, innovation and trade.”

Among Mat’s many accolades, he was winner of 2019’s Rabobank’s Trans-Tasman Emerging Leader Award. Shown in the image above.

You can read Mat’s profile statement here.

You can also support Mat’s election to the LIC board by voting here.


Cameron Henderson, 2019 Nuffield Scholar.
Cam is running for a director role with DairyNZ. He farms 240ha near Oxford in North Canterbury with his wife Sarah and two young children. They run 750 cows on this and lease an additional 250ha in arable and dairy support. Cam is a fifth generation kiwi farmer.

“I am a positive and progressive leader, and a pragmatic problem-solver. I take this approach both on farm and in the boardroom as an experienced farmer and director.”

You can read Cam’s profile below and, in a case of perfect timing, check out the latest issue of AgriHQ’s Dairy Farmer publication. Cam features in an article ‘Change through innovation’.

You can read Cam’s profile statement here.

You can also support Cam by placing a vote here.

The Rural Reader - Book reviews by Dr Patrick Aldwell.

A great believer in the idea of life-long learning, Dr Patrick Aldwell is a voracious reader. He’s also highly selective on quality of writing and research. As a result Dr Aldwell has done the gruelling curation yards for you.

In this ‘Rural Reader’, Patrick reviews Merchants of doubt – Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (2012). It’s a book that builds on last month’s ‘A Matter of Fact’ by exploring a more sinister, well-planned and well-funded approach to disinforming the public on matters of global concern.


News from our Partners.

Beef + LambNZ Awards.

Grab your tickets for this year’s Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards Dinner, being held at Christchurch’s Te Pae Convention Centre on Thursday, 19 October.

The Awards Dinner is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the people who work on farms, agri-businesses and those within the wider sector who create the innovations that help drive efficiencies along the supply chain.

Rural Leaders are proud to have been nominated as a finalist again this year in the Rabobank People Development Award. We wish our fellow finalists Growing Future Farmers and our Regional Partners Whangarei Agricultural and Pastoral Society good luck.

This is always one of the key industry events of the year – and not to be missed. Book your ticket here.

Industry News.

AWDT - Escalator 2024

This is a time for new leaders to stand up. As our food and fibre sector and rural communities grapple with change, women with purpose will show us the way. Women like you.

Applications for Escalator 2024 are now open until October 9.

Escalator is an impact leadership accelerator programme empowering purpose-driven women with the mindsets, skills and connections to create systemic change in our sector and rural communities.

It’s about unleashing your true self in the service of others, reconnecting with your strengths, embracing your leadership style and developing the hard and soft skills that define modern, mission-orientated leadership.

Application information can be found here.

Leadership Opportunities

MPI - Principal Adviser, Primary Sector Workforce Policy

Based in Wellington, MPI are looking for an experienced thought leader who enjoys getting stuck into immediate policy proposals and longer-term strategic policy thinking.

You will be operating at principal level already. Analytical – wants to work with data to develop policy. A strategic thinker. A great writer and communicator. Enjoys participating in the machinery of government. Relationship management skills – can take the lead engaging internally and externally.

Learn more here. 

Farmlands- Board Observer

The Farmlands Board offers a Board Observer Programme. The programme is very similar to the NZ Institute of Directors “Future Director” programme. We have successfully operated this programme for the past four years.

The Observer is appointed for a year and is expected to attend all Board meetings. The Observer is expected to participate as if they were a Director – with the exception that the Observer has no voting rights or any legal obligations as a Director.

The position is unpaid. 

Applications close today at 5pm! Provide your Shareholder number in your application. Applications can be sent to

Learn more here. 

Send us your feedback.

Hey there, let us know what you think of the Rural Leader.  

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