Rural Leaders New Zealand

The Rural Leader

January 2022

Welcome to the first issue for 2022 of the Rural Leader. 

The Rural Leaders Team is back in the office and ready for a new year. We’re feeling recharged after reconnecting with nature, friends, and family. We hope you were able to do the same.  

We’re excited about 2022’s programme schedule, key dates and events line up. We’ll keep you posted on these throughout the year and with any pandemic related changes too.

Plans are in place to allow us to deliver programmes safely and in accordance with government guidelines. In the event of any future changes to the Government’s Covid settings or strategy, we’ll work to find the best path forward for both our participants and the programmes. We did this successfully over 2021.

Throughout the year we’ll continue to shine a light on some of the leaders and innovators driving change. In the first Ideas that Grow for 2022, we talk to Desiree Reid-Whitaker, founder and managing director of Cardrona Distillery. Desiree is a 2010 Nuffield Scholar who sold the farm and started one of New Zealand’s finest distilleries. Listen to Desiree’s fascinating journey from dairy cows to award winning whiskey. 

We also look at a typical day on the Value Chain Innovation Programme. This is a brief insight into day five on the industry immersion. The programme starts in May, with applications closing in eight weeks on March 20. If you want unprecedented connection to some of New Zealand’s established, innovative and novel value chains, and their leaders, this immersive programme is for you.  

Early results are in from the Kellogg phase of the Mackenzie Study, conducted with the Otago Business School and the Department of Economics. While work still needs to be done, we share some of the longer form responses from Kellogg Alumni. These immediately present a compelling case for participation in the programme.  

Kellogg Lincoln January kicks off this week with a full programme. We’re excited about the industry mix of this group and some of the early research topic indications from the new scholars. Applications for the year’s second Lincoln programme in June, close 17 April.  

Kellogg Whanganui May applications close 13 March. If you are involved in the primary sector in the North Island and want to build your leadership ability, the convenience of having this respected rural leadership programme close to home and work, is too good an opportunity to miss in 2022.  

This month we have a very busy Alumni in the spotlight section, where we highlight 2006 Nuffield Scholar Ben Todhunter and celebrate the achievements of two Kelloggers –  Jessie Chan and Madison Pannett.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the Rural Leader. 

The Team at Rural Leaders.

Main sections:


Value Chain Innovation Programme


Alumni in the Spotliht

Partner news

Ideas that grow podcast.

Desiree Reid-Whitaker:
An entrepreneurial spirit.

Passionate about her craft, Desiree started what is now one of New Zealand’s finest distilleries.

The founder of Cardrona Distillery is also a 2010 Nuffield Scholar. In this podcast she talks about her personal and business journey, the power of lists, and her passion for craft.

Listen to her fascinating journey from dairy cows to award winning whiskey, gin, liqueur, and vodka.

Listen to the podcast here.

Read her Nuffield report from 2010 – 
How do dairy co-operatives grow for farmers’ benefit.

A typical day on the Value Chain Innovation Programme.

We take a glance at a typical day on the programme’s industry immersion tour. From 6:30am until 8:30pm, day five is a non-stop series of deep dives into aspects of New Zealand’s leading value chains. 

Find out more about the study tour >>

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.

The 2022 Nuffield Scholarships are gaining momentum.

The 2022 Nuffield Programme is now underway. Here’s a brief breakdown of the coming weeks.

This week, our 2022 Scholars Lucie Douma, Parmindar Singh and Anthony Taueki will attend two days of induction at Lincoln with Rural Leaders, including media training, a session with Ian Proudfoot of KPMG and much more.

After that, on 26 January the Nuffield Scholars will join Kellogg Lincoln phase one for several key sessions, including Saturday’s team building exercise.   

The next group event for them will be the study tour that will take place between 30 January –
4 February
, and will cover two regions – Canterbury and Otago. 

This South Island study tour will give the new Nuffield Scholars a broad overview of the primary industry and some of the innovation taking place within it.  

Scholars will be visiting arable precision and non-precision, fine wool, and dairy operations. The tour also includes several innovation-based, environment and policy, and research centre visits.

Lucy, Parmindar and Anthony will then have a few days off before heading to Wellington for the awards ceremony which will be held on 8 February. As you may be aware the formal awarding of the Nuffield Scholarships was originally planned for November 2021. The pandemic meant that these were pushed out until this year. 

We hope the awards will go ahead as planned at Parliament with Hon. Damien O’Connor attending. The Minister will take part in the formal aspects of the evening, such as announcing the scholarship recipients. This will be followed by the awards dinner.  

If these few weeks are any indication, it will be a busy year for our new Scholars. An announcement on the CSC is expected this week. 

The case for Kellogg.

Otago University

The first phase of the Mackenzie study revealed stunning statistics on the positive economic impact of Nuffield Alumni.

Early results are now in for Kellogg Alumni, with nearly 100 completing an extensive survey.

In ‘The case for Kellogg’ we share some of the longer form responses – all of which paint a picture of significant in-person gains, often directly attributable to participation in the programme. If you’re considering doing a Kellogg, this is worth reading.

Click here to continue reading >>

Kellogg, January start, Lincoln

Programme starts 26 January 2022.

Kellogg, May start, Whanganui

3 May – 21 October 2022
Applications close: 13 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.

Ben Todhunter:
Observations from a high-country station.

In this Alumni in the Spotlight, we share some of Ben’s LinkedIn posts from 2021. Ben’s passion for the land, his animals and the rhythms of nature come through in his regular LinkedIn posts assembled as Observations from a high-country station.’

Ben Todhunter is a 2006 Nuffield Scholar and High Country Farmer. He farms Cleardale Station with his family in the Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury.  

Congratulations Jessie Chan on being an MNZM!

2012 Kellogg Scholar Jessie Chan was included in the New Year Honours list in 2022 for services to dairy and agriculture.

Jessie has been contributing to the dairy and agricultural industry through her management and governance roles for 20 years.

Click here to read the citations or read the story about her in Woman’s Magazine published this month “Meet Jessie Chan: the farmer breaking the glass ceiling.”

Madison Pannett on GenZ in the primary sector.

Madison Pannett is a 2021 Kellogg Scholar and who recently made the news with about her Kellogg research on attracting Generation Z into the primary industries.  

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.

To update your details

Click Here

To update your details

Click Here

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