Rural Leaders New Zealand

The Rural Leader

December 2021

Welcome to the December issue of the Rural Leader. 

This is the last Rural Leader of 2021, so here is a quick wrap up and thank you from Lisa Rogers.  

2021 saw a few changes to The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust Board. Kate Scott is now well into her work as Chair, replacing Andrew Watters.

From 1st January 2022, Andrew Watters will be leaving the Board. On behalf of the Rural Leaders network, we would like to thank Andrew for his work and support during his time on the Board and as the Chair of the NZRLT.

In Andrew’s place, Rebecca Hyde was appointed as a Trustee. Rebecca is well known among our alumni and investing partners. A 2017 Nuffield Scholar, she also completed the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme in 2021. In 2019/2020 Rebecca served as an Associate Trustee on our Board and has been a frequent contributor to our publications since 2017. We look forward to working with her in 2022 and beyond.

With a little shuffling here and there, all Rural Leaders programmes were delivered in 2021, despite the wobbly nature of this second year under a pandemic. Our programme schedule for 2022 feels well-rounded with the addition of the new Value Chain Innovation Programme. There has been plenty of interest in it so far, so we’re anticipating a full course. 

If you’re considering the Value Chain Innovation Programme in 2022, you may want to check out December’s edition of Ideas That Grow. In it we interview James Parsons, 2008 Nuffield Scholar, Chair of Wools of New Zealand, and farmer. James talks about how value-add doesn’t always add up to added profits, Nuffield, the recent merger with CP Wools, as well as providing an excellent summary of value chains vs supply chains.

Kellogg Whanganui kicks off in May, continuing the regionally based programmes. If you’re based in the Manawatū-Whanganui region, or nearby, this is an opportunity to build your leadership skills close to home.

In Alumni in the spotlight, we hear from 2021 Westpac Emerging Leader Award recipient and 2018 Kellogg Scholar Rebecca Miller. Rebecca and other alumni like 2019 Nuffield Scholar Hamish Murray, are leading the charge on doing their bit to reverse our primary sector’s labour transience. They all believe that in order to create better workplaces you have to work on yourself first.  

We hope you enjoy this issue, and from all of us here at Rural Leaders, have a great Christmas wherever you are. See you in January for 2022’s first Rural Leader. 

The Team at Rural Leaders.

Main sections:


Value Chain Innovation Programme


Alumni in the Spotliht

Partner news

Lisa Rogers on Rural Leaders’ 2021.

From creating new programmes to delivering Kellogg to the regions, and from new Nuffield Scholars to new team members, 2021 has been a busy year. Lisa Rogers says goodbye to what was also a wobbly year for most.

Ideas that grow podcast.

James Parsons:
When value-add doesn’t add up.

James Parsons, 2008 Nuffield Scholar, Chair of Wools of New Zealand, and farmer, talks about how value-add doesn’t always add up to added profits. James’ summary of value chains vs supply chains is informative, and the podcast is worth a listen for that alone. 

Listen to his podcast here.

When a road trip bears fruit.

Central Otago Horticulture - Engagement with industry to find ways to build capability

On a recent research trip, Professor Hamish Gow of Lincoln University and Chris Parsons, Rural Leaders’ CEO, successfully established stronger links with the horticulture sector and in particular, growers from the pip fruit and stone fruit industries. Read more about the trip and the guest who joined them. 

Read the full story here >>

Rural Leaders and Thriving Southland collaborate.

Workshops in Southland, collaboration between NZ RUral Leaders, Thriving Soutland and Lincoln University

Rural Leaders collaborate with many organisations to enhance rural leadership capability. One recent example was joining forces with Thriving Southland to deliver two workshops to inspire catchment leaders and their teams to deliver positive outcomes for Southland. 

The groups generated two hundred key insights, from which they produced three hundred ideas, and four game plans. Read more about the Strategy and Leadership workshops here.  

Read the full story here >>

The 2022 Contemporary Scholar Conference.

Although it is unlikely at this stage, we are hopeful 2022 will mark the resumption of the normal Nuffield programme with the return of the Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC). Up to eight Nuffield Scholars (from 2021 and 2022) may be heading to Norfolk in the UK from 7 to 15 March. Chris Parsons Rural Leaders’ CEO may also be attending.

This weeklong conference will give scholars the opportunity to hear from international thought leaders on global agricultural challenges, attend panel discussions, get out to see various farming operations, build on learning, and connect with Britain’s farming sector. We look forward to bringing you updates from Chris and the Nuffield Scholars in March.

Kellogg Programme dates.

Kellogg, January start, Lincoln

Judging by the level of interest we had for Kellogg Lincoln, January 2022, we would suggest getting your application underway now or early in the new year for Whanganui in May and Lincoln in June.

So, if you’re making your professional development plans for 2022, check out our website here.  

If you have questions about the Programmes, contact Programme Manager, Lisa Rogers at or on 021 139 6881.

Kellogg, May start, Whanganui

3 May – 21 October 2022
Applications close: 14 March 2022

Find out more about the 2022 Whanganui Programme  >>>

Kellogg, June start, Lincoln

21 June – 2 December 2022
Applications close: 17 April 2022

Find out more about the 2022 Lincoln Programme  >>>

Alumni in the spotlight.

Doing better by our people.

With roughly 70% of those entering the Primary Sector for work leaving after three years, some farmers are quietly looking to reverse the trend.

In this article we hear from 2021 Westpac Emerging Leader Award recipient and 2018 Kellogg Scholar, Rebecca Miller. Rebecca and other alumni, like 2019 Nuffield Scholar, Hamish Murray, are leading the charge and doing their bit to reverse our primary sector’s labour transience. They all believe that to create better workplaces you have to work on yourself first.

Read the full article >>

Three must-read Kellogg reports.

With our latest Kellogg cohort’s reports due for release in the coming days, we thought we would go back a few more years for this month’s three must-reads.  

Farmer Storytelling – Navigating our narrative. 
– Lisa Portas, 2019 
Lisa’s report remains a useful exploration into the way effective storytelling can be used to successfully take a product from its on-farm origins, right through to an end consumer.    

Putting a face to the challenges of small, rural businesses in New Zealand. 
– Kate Taylor, 2017 
Kate’s report gives a more personal view of the experiences of small rural business owners and what sources of knowledge are available to help them build success. The report includes three case studies of women who started their own businesses – with kids in tow. 

Funding the flow of milk: Dairy industry capital requirements. 
– Hamish Fraser, 2013 
Take a look back at an industry nearly ten years younger. Hamish’s report sought to understand the total capital invested in dairy and how debt levels could impact the industry’s ability to fund future growth.

As you may already know, the decision has been made to reschedule the programme for May 2022. This new timing may hold a silver lining in terms of the variety and scale of value chain case studies available at that time.

Programme runs from 9 May to 19 June.  
Applications close Sunday 20 March 2022.

Interest in the Programme has been high, so be sure to secure your place soon. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Programme Manager Lisa Rogers at or call 021 139 6881.

John Luxton Obituary.

John Luxton Obituary – John was a dairy leader and well-respected politician. You can read a recent Stuff article on John here.


News from our partners.

Beef + Lamb Awards Dinner. 

Tickets are now on sale for the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards Dinner, taking place at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre on Wednesday, 2 February 2022.

As you can imagine, Rural Leaders are excited about being chosen as finalists. We’re equally excited about Nuffield Scholar Daniel Eb’s finalist selection for Rural Champion and Kelloggers Siobhan O’Malley and Wayne Langford’s finalist for Meat the Need, in the same category. It’ll be a big evening.

Tickets can be purchased via  Eventbrite, an external ticketing website.

Beef+Lamb Awards Dinner

FAR Maize Conference: 2022.

This conference will include trial visits, formal presentations from international and national maize experts. This is a three-day event hosted in Hamilton, Tuesday 1 February, 1:30pm – 4:30pm, to 3 February, 4pm.

The conference includes a dinner too. You can download the full programme here. Or you can register here. My Vaccine Pass will be required to attend.

Industry news.

New Zealand Rivers Trust Board opportunity.

The New Zealand Rivers Trust (NZRT) is seeking expressions of interest in a Trustee role opportunity. This is a governance role providing leadership and oversight support for the running of the New Zealand River Awards, which are held biennially. To find out what the Trust is looking for in an applicant, click here.


Call to all scholars: Update your details.

It’s important for us to keep your contact and other details up to date. Please take a few minutes to fill out our form by clicking on the relevant logo below. This information will not be used outside of our organisation without your permission. Thank you.

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