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Following a review and consideration of the circumstances and information, and following engagement with our stakeholders, CEDA has made the difficult decision to postpone New Zealand AgriFood Week until further notice. This means that the following headline events will not be going ahead this week:

  • New Zealand AgriFood Week Pōwhiri – Official Opening, Monday 16 March
  • New Zealand AgriFood Week Strategy Launch, Tuesday 17 March
  • Plate of Origin Dinner, Tuesday 17 March
  • ASB Perspective 2025, and MPI Provenance Breakfast, Wednesday 18 March
  • Rural Innovation Lab Collaboration Lunch, Wednesday 18 March
  • AgResearch Presents: Our Food. Our Future., Wednesday 18 March
  • New Zealand Future Leaders 2020, Thursday 19 March
  • AgTech Hackathon, 20 – 21 March
  • For all other events taking place during New Zealand AgriFood Week 16 – 22 March, please contact the event managers directly, all details can be found on

The decision follows an extensive review of the facts, the Ministry of Health guidelines and our partner and stakeholder views. The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and in order to minimise the spread of this pandemic in our communities and to prevent unnecessary strain on our health systems, CEDA has decided that postponement of New Zealand AgriFood Week is the best course of action.

CEDA’s CEO Linda Stewart says that CEDA has taken meticulous care in coming to this decision. “CEDA have been working around the clock to review the rapidly changing scene, considering the guidelines and advice from Ministry of Health and our DHB. With attendees coming from across New Zealand and the globe, the decision to postpone the Week was made to protect the wellbeing of all involved and our communities.”

Naming sponsor ASB fully supports the decision, with ASB’s Executive General Manager of Business Banking Tim Deane saying the decision had not been made lightly, however it was the right one.

“We know AgriFood Week is a highlight in the rural calendar, however the safety and wellbeing of those attending is our top priority, and in light of the current situation we believe this decision is the correct one. We look forward to celebrating AgriFood Week at a later date with our customers and the wider rural community,” says Deane.

Ticket holders to the headline events Perspective 2025, and Our Food. Our Future. will be notified of the proposed new dates as soon as practically possible. Ticket holders are advised to check their emails for the latest information regarding postponement.

The Ministry of Health and MidCentral DHB are leading the response to COVID-19, for current COVID-19 advice, people are encouraged to visit the Ministry of Health website.

For more information:
Linda Stewart
Chief Executive, CEDA
[email protected]
027 801 6434

In a world that is increasingly digital, it’s rare that a new magazine launches. We spent five minutes catching up with Shepherdess Magazine founder and editor Kristy McGregor, about where the idea came from and the journey to date.

What is Shepherdess?

Shepherdess is a new quarterly magazine for women in rural New Zealand. It is about connecting, empowering and inspiring women across New Zealand, by offering a place to tell the people of our rural community’s stories. It is a place to share stories of resourcefulness, entrepreneurship and courage.

Where did the idea come from?

I’ve always been passionate about creating vibrant and thriving rural communities. When I lived in far western Queensland, before moving to New Zealand, I started an event called the Channel Country Ladies Day with a group of women. It’s still going strong, now eight years on, and brings together women from the most remote corners of three states together for a weekend of laughs, connection, comradery and burlesque. It’s a lot of fun, but it also has – as we discovered – an important place in the lives of many women for its impact on their social and emotional wellbeing, in what is a very geographically isolated region.

When I moved to New Zealand, I realised that there is this very strong agricultural industry, but a lot of the conversation was about cows and grass. Communities are closer together here than in Australia, but that doesn’t always mean they are better connected. There’s also so many wonderful things going on already in rural communities, but they aren’t widely talked about; they’re almost hidden. You have to know where to find them.

When I moved to New Zealand, I realised that there is this very strong agricultural industry, but a lot of the conversation was about cows and grass. Communities are closer together, but that doesn’t always mean they are better connected. There’s also so many wonderful things going on already in rural communities, but they aren’t widely talked about; they’re almost hidden. You have to know where to find them.

At the same time I met Claire Dunne, the founder and editor of Australian magazine Graziher. Claire has really paved the way in Australia for telling the stories of women in the bush. After a little while of toying with the idea, she messaged me just after the Christmas before last saying ‘how about it?’. At that point I had a newborn baby, was studying for my Masters, was about to return to work, and life was full. I don’t believe there’s such thing as waiting for the right time though – you’ve just got to seize the moment as it comes and with that, we thrust into creating a magazine. Claire’s been on the end of the phone ever since and I am very grateful to her for her support and wisdom throughout.

When print is going out of fashion, why a magazine?

There’s something special about picking up a magazine and holding it in your hands! It’s so much more of an experience than the inundation of material we’re privy to through digital channels. Receiving a magazine that you treasure in your letterbox is a real treat, and it’s a fond memory I have from growing up. It feels like a lot has fallen into place – now there’s a reason why I’ve kept so many magazines on my bookshelf for all these years! They’ve also become good reference points over the last few months.

Where is the magazine available?

The first edition is with the printer as we speak, and it will be available from mid-March. It will be available online via subscription and at selected Farmlands stores nationally. You can also find it at a couple of Manawatū favourites, including Marton’s Moomaa Café & Design Store, and Tonic & Cloth in George Street, Palmerston North.

Can we have a sneak peek of the first edition?

We’ve trekked from Northland to the Mackenzie Country, and there’s so many beautiful stories, it’s hard to know where to start! We’ve got a story on a wahine, mother and farmer from Northland, Chevon Horsford, who is doing beautiful work supporting her whanau and their aspirations for their land. We talk with two families who have diversified their farming businesses by adding glamping accommodation. We met a pioneer in the seafood industry, a crayfisherwoman from Tora on the Wairarapa Coast, and catch up with two sisters who are taking on the family farm. Alongside that we’ve curated lovely things for your home made in rural New Zealand, women sharing their memories and moments, a profile on a rural artist, and social photos from recent rural community events around the country.

Shepherdess will be launching on Wednesday during New Zealand AgriFood Week. Find out more about the launch event and RSVP here.

For magazine subscriptions visit the Shepherdess website.

Once a corporate project manager and now a Manawatū beekeeper, Nathan Gillard left one suit behind to pick up another; all in the name of chasing a career that will serve his family and his community.

Now, on any given day, Nathan can be found visiting one of their many apiary sites across the greater Manawatū, catching up with landowners or proudly delivering his product direct to his suppliers and consumers.

“At Gillard Honey, we put the right amount of hives in the right place and rarely move them. So, our bees are happy. We’re close to nature, we gently manage our own hives, extract and package our own honey. We are a local, family-owned and operated business which enables us to offer a “hive to home” service which is important to us and our customers,”

With a chuckle and a small but grateful sigh, he goes on to say, “just yesterday I extracted honey at 4am and delivered it to a customer at 6pm that night – it’s incredible.”

Gillard Honey is a regular at the Hokowhitu Village Farmers’ Market, taking place on the third Sunday of every month.

Nathan genuinely believes he has a great product and generously shares it, and his passion, with his community. From educating school groups to personally handing his honey to customers at the Hokowhitu Village and Feilding Farmers’ Markets, Nathan tells the story and the benefits of his product wherever he can.

However, Nathan’s knowledge and Gillard Honey aren’t confined to the region – or even the nation.

“Restaurants around the country use our honey. One up in Auckland used it as a marinade and it got picked up by a top chef and we made it into Dish Magazine. That was cool. The most exciting news is that we are exporting to Asia and currently setting up Gillard Honey UK to service the UK and EU market.

With their export license, one of Gillard Honey’s primary goals is education.

“Everyone is so focused on manuka, which is a great product, but we think it’s important to educate our customers about the health benefits of other types of raw honey, including Rewarewa, for the anti-oxidants and more. It’s just such a great product.”

Nathan believes this story must start at home, which is why he tends to get his honey into the hands of locals and talks about his product as often as he can. He summed it up well when he said:

“Here’s the thing. If we, and our neighbours, don’t understand the value of what we have in our own country, and are not able to find it in our own supermarkets – how are we going to collectively tell the world?”

Gillard Honey will be served at the MPI Provenance Breakfast following ASB Perspective 2025. Hosted at Te Manawa and presented by Brew Union, the breakfast will be a showcase of some of the best and brightest food products and producers from the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

New Zealand AgriFood Week attendees can also purchase Gillard Honey at the Hokowhitu Village Farmers’ Market and Feilding Farmers’ Market.

The third Sunday of every month in Hokowhitu Village is truly a feast for all the senses. 

Colourful buntings and hanging flower baskets are matched with the smell of coffee brewing and the taste of artisan delicacies. The sound of young buskers earning their school trips fill the ears of local patrons as they walk home holding locally grown, raised, and baked purchases.  

Since its inception, Hokowhitu Village Farmers’ Market has been a collaboration of quality products, and community spirit.  

The Green House’s salads, smoothies and acai bowls are firm favourite amongst locals.

“My initial goal was to think outside the block and put Hokowhitu Village on the map. Few people knew what it had to offer beyond the handful of storefronts. There are actually 25 businesses back here – including a community centre!” says founder Robin Fischer.

From the beginning, Robin firmly believed that the event should only showcase food. 

Founder of the Farmers’ Market, Robin Fischer.

“If I can’t eat it, then it doesn’t come. When I managed a lodge up near Matakana, I saw the quality of their markets and wanted to offer something to reflect our area too. Every stall is handpicked, and most of our products – even stalls that showcase international fare – reflect the quality and variety of food we produce.”

“There’s a growing trend to eat less but eat higher quality. That’s what our vendors provide.” 

Cartwheel Creamery’s award-winning cheeses are made in the picturesque Pohangina Valley.

It’s not uncommon for 400-600 people, on average, to frequent the 40+-stall market. As one local attendee shares, “I don’t know how he does it. At 9am it’s like someone has rung the school bell and, if you look down the street, doors open up as people prepare to walk down to the Market.”

Even though it was initially his idea, Robin insists the market wouldn’t happen without the investment of the brick and mortar businesses, stallholders, and the Palmerston North City Council. Together they raised funds, awareness, and personally paid for small projects to bring life and public awareness to the Village; including improved signage, maintained public facilities, murals by local artist Melanie Christmas, and the hanging baskets.

The award-winning Rata Olive Oil.

Beyond the beautification projects, Robin and his team work hard to spruce up the culture and thoughtfulness of the event. 

“We advocated for event recycling bins here. It’s now mandatory for the vendors to use cardboard or brown paper. I tell them, ‘you own the market, I just facilitate.’ We have to take care of this place and own our responsibility to use it. It’s all about quality, sustainability and reducing wastage.”

Celebrating four years this month, this local tradition will be putting on an extra special event during New Zealand AgriFood Week. Taking place the day prior to the week’s Official Opening & Pōwhiri, the Market will be hanging their birthday bunting on Sunday 15 March. 

New Zealand AgriFood Week attendees will discover a stunning array of delights from bespoke cheeses, organic produce, German breads and artisan meats. Dine on tasty street food, enjoy live music by local talent and meet the makers, passionate growers, and crafters.  

This market is an important part of New Zealand AgriFood Week and highlights the growing trend from consumers that they want to know where their food is grown, how it’s produced and have an opportunity to connect with the farmers, growers and bakers creating their food. 

It will take someone with expansive governance experience and industry knowledge to capture and lead a stimulating public round table discussion about the future of our Agrifood industry.

We have just the woman.

Director and agricultural economist Carla Muller will be leading us in Manawatū as our ASB Perspective 2025 Chair. She will facilitate a unique ‘boardroom’ style discussion, giving the audience a first-hand glimpse into the purposeful conversation between seven female leaders, nationally and globally renowned for their work and contribution to the primary industries and food value chain.

Together, these leaders, alongside the audience, will address how we can continue to build pride, excitement and awareness of what’s happening within New Zealand to our own communities, government and investors.

With the event just around the corner, Carla took some time to answer a few quick questions.

Carla, thank you so much for joining us! What are you excited about for ASB Perspective 2025 this year?

What stuck out for me about previous events is the breadth and depth of knowledge, backgrounds and experiences, yet everyone was linked by a common passion for the New Zealand agrifood industry. What an opportunity!

The thing about this type of event is that you don’t know exactly where the conversation will go but with the strategic thinking and quality of people in the room, you know that attendees are bound to leave feeling challenged and encouraged to continue to take our industries to the next level.

You’re so right. We appreciate the fact that you will be leading the conversation along the way. What are you most proud of for the Primary Industries?

For our Primary Industries to continue to thrive we need to be proud of the work we do right across the sector, but I think we can start by being proud of our farmers and growers. I do genuinely think that the farmers and growers in Aotearoa want to do the best they can for our country, the consumer, their animals and land. We have smart, innovative, talented people right across the industry who can help and support them, but we need to work better together to move forward. Collaboration is key.

To make that collaboration a reality, who inspires you in our industry?

Anyone who can manage their bias and tries to truly understand others with the aim of genuine collaboration.

We know talking about collaboration is easy, but it is tougher to do. Events and conversations like this are such a great start. What are you hoping attendees will walk away from ASB Perspective 2025 challenged to do next?

I want people to walk away inspired about how awesome our sector is and can be. Our potential is immense and with the quality group of women around the table, I think it will be evident.

I want attendees to meet and connect with people different from themselves and challenge themselves to see things from a new perspective. I want them to walk away thinking ‘How we can work better together? And what am I personally going to do now to help?’

We know you are a busy woman with all your governance roles: President of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management, a director for PrimaryITO and a board advisor for CyclingNZ – all in addition to your day job! So, what does a typical day in the life of Carla look like?

As with many roles in agriculture – I am not sure there is a typical day!
Generally, I would spend most of the day working on client projects in my role with Perrin Ag. This is often followed by some time outside on the farm with my partner. Finally, in the evening, I get to spend a bit of time on my board roles.

I’m lucky that my board roles and project work are all varied, as it allows me to dip in and out of industries across the agrifood ecosystem and keeps my work interesting and stimulating.


Carla is an Agricultural Economist at Perrin Ag Consultants, where she works on a range of projects for agribusinesses, iwi, industry groups and regional councils; President of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management, an industry organisation for rural professionals; a director for PrimaryITO and a board advisor for CyclingNZ. In the past, Carla’s won the Institute of Directors Emerging Director Award in the Waikato, which saw her spend over a year with the Waikato Institute of Technology board, she was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards, and has completed the Agri-Women’s Development Trust Escalator Programme.

Carla spends most of her time on the farm her partner manages at the top of the East Cape and is incredibly passionate about the Aotearoa food and fibre sector and the contribution it can, and does, make to the economy, environment and communities.

Have you got your ticket yet? Join us on March 18 in Manawatū, the epicentre of agrifood innovation for ASB Perspective 2025.

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