Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | April 11, 2014

Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year – Hugh and Sharon Ritchie

Well done to Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year.

I’ve just been writing about Hugh lately as I am doing the Nuffield NZ newsletter and he has just retired after 12 years as a trustee (we also went through Young Farmers together, although I hasten to add he is older than me!!!  Hugh, Shane Tilson and I won a national debating final in 1995!)

So last night (back to the important news) they were awarded the prestigious Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title in front of 350 people at a dinner at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay (well done on great night Hillary).

Hugh's acceptance speech (taken from my mobile so don't judge my photography skills on this entry!)

Hugh’s acceptance speech (taken from my mobile so don’t judge my photography skills on this entry!)

It’s the second time for the Drumpeel Road farm near Otane (north of Waipawa…. south of Hastings).  - Hugh’s father David won it in 1990 (I only came here in 1993 so the first one I remember is Steve Wyn-Harris in 1994 and now I live in the same district).

The official quote from the organisers: “This is a large-scale business both in livestock and cropping using the very latest technology to make efficiency gains in production and optimise profitability with the better land competing with dairy returns. All this is achieved with a strong focus on sustainable farming and a passion for the environment and his soils”.

Hugh and Sharon will be hosting a field day on May 8.

Third year Lincoln University student Patrick Crawshaw was given the Lawson Robinson Hawke’s Bay A&P Society Scholarship to recognise outstanding academic and leadership qualities in a student currently enrolled in a land based study programme. He gave an excellent speech and by all accounts, like last year’s winner Rowan Sandford, he will be a name recognised in farming circles for many years to come.

Mike Barham was awarded the Laurie Dowling Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to agriculture in Hawke’s Bay.  He had five extremely busy years with the East Coast Rural Support Trust and it was this position that has earned him this award – through several tough and tight drought years including coordinating feed into the North Island, and the April weather bomb that hit the coast from Porangahau to Ocean Beach in 2011.

The Pan Pac Hawke’s Bay Farm Foresters of the Year, Hugh and Di McBain, also from near Otane, will host a field day at their property on the 24 May 2014.


Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 12, 2014

Local Dairy Industry Awards

And a great night was had by all… well done to the organisers of the Hawke’s Bay Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards held in Masterton last night. Here are some photos… (and the winners!)



Who’s the sexy one in the Ravensdown tie? (hehe)


Great entrance!


and a great welcoming party….


and the winners are…


Congratulations to the following entrants who were crowned winners for 2014 of the Hawkes Bay/ Wairarapa region: from left: Alice Gysbertsen – Dairy Trainee of the Year, Zoe and Tony Kuriger – Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and Nick Bertram – Farm Manager of the Year. Congratulations!

Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 5, 2014

Queen me

The Queen visited NZ in 1977 when I was five years old and included the Taieri Aerodrome near Dunedin in her itinerary.

Like any well behaved young child, I snuck under the cordon rope and ran up to QEII with a picture in hand (from memory it was of a pink elephant). She asked me my name and said thank you and I ran back to my Mum, who (like me in later years) was standing poised with camera in hand.

What I would like to know, is how to go about finding one of the photographers on the other side of the Queen who may have got a snap of me talking to the great lady. I have had no response from the ODT or Buckingham Palace (didn’t really expect to get anything from the latter but an acknowledgement from the ODT would have been nice, even if it told me I was dreaming!) (lol I can picture the little dude in the TV advertisement in the playground asking the Aussie dude to help with some work at the weekend “nah mate, you’re dreaming!”)

So, for my moment of fame, here is me running away from Queen Elizabeth II, in honour of the upcoming visit of our future King.

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Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | February 24, 2014

East Coast first to host environment awards

The first regional dinner has been held for the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The East Coast awards, covering the geographic area of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council, were announced in Gisborne on Thursday.  It’s the fourth year of the awards but the first time hosted by Gisborne.

Well done to all those who entered…. and (drum roll please) the winners were Rob and Sandra Faulkner and Bruce and Jo Graham from the 600ha property, Wairakaia, which can be found on both sides of SH2 at Muriwai, south of Gisborne.

Faulkner Graham

From left, Bruce & Jo Graham and Rob & Sandra Faulkner.

Faulkner Graham 2

A view from Wairakaia towards Poverty Bay

The Faulkner/Graham partnership also collected the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and The East Coast Farming For The Future Award (as sponsored by the two councils).

Wairakaia is a sheep, beef and cropping operation, running about 5000 stock units on contour that ranges from flat to very steep and growing about 190ha of maize, squash and seed corn on owned and leased land. The business also has 32ha of forestry, 10ha of citrus and 1ha of tree Lucerne, along with a poplar nursery that sells around 1000 poles annually as well as supplying 200 each year for their own use. 

 BFEA judges noted the farm’s high-producing, quality stock and good mix of genetics. The cropping programme has been successfully integrated with stock finishing and the operation achieves consistent crop yields, with the inclusion of citrus providing increased diversity.

 Judges also noted the excellent pasture and soil management and the consideration given to effects on both land and water.

 The farm was originally settled by Rob and Jo’s great-grand parents in 1900. Subsequent generations of the family planted trees for agroforestry, erosion control and aesthetics and this foresight is acknowledged and appreciated by Rob and Jo and their spouses, Sandra and Bruce.

 While all partners contribute to the running of the business, Rob and Bruce form the core working partnership. BFEA judges praised the structure of the business which enables the family to maintain its partnership “during intense development and off-farm activities at national, regional and local levels”.

 Sandra, a 2012 Nuffield scholar, is heavily involved in agri-politics and Jo teaches at Gisborne Girls’ High School.

 Bruce and Jo have two daughters, Amanda (12) and Nicki (10).  Rob and Sandra have two sons, William (10) and George (8).

 A field day will be held on Wairakaia on Thursday 27 March.

Other winners were:

Meridian Energy Excellence Award; Art and Jill Eastham, Te Kowhai Station, Whatatutu.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award; Bruce Nimon, Kokako Vineyard, Hastings.

PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Richard and Robyn Busby, Makorori Station, Whangara.

WaterForce Integrated Management Award; Leicester and Margaret Gray and Callum and Sarah Gray, Waipawa.

Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award; Tom and Linda Savage, Poututu Station Partnership, Te Karaka.

LIC Dairy Merit Award; Dave and Tracey Thompson, Te Repo Farms, Takapau.



Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | February 6, 2014

Fire Brigade – amazing commitment

I had the pleasure of taking some photos for the Ashley Clinton Fire Brigade last weekend for a double gold star presentation, which meant two firefighters were recognised for 25 years of service each.

Congratulations – it is an amazing commitment.

There were four Gary's in the room - the most "important" ones were in the middle, second from left Gary Oliver and third from left Garry de Malmanche.

There were four Garys in the room – the most “important” ones were in the middle, second from left Gary Oliver and third from left Garry de Malmanche.

Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | January 19, 2014


I just saw this photo of some dogs outside the woolshed of a farm I visited today.

It reminded me of the Toyota “bugger” ad. I went to the farm to take some photographs for Young Country magazine and came a cropper in the yards, landed on my backside with a sprained ankle and a near-faint experience.

Luciky most of the guys were facing the other way at the time pushing some ewes into the shed so it wasn’t as embarassing as it could have been… but embarassing nonetheless.

And as the dog said, bugger.

Perhaps a good excuse to watch tennis and cricket on the TV this afternoon though…

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Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | January 15, 2014

Good advice from Feds

Rustling, cannabis and theft mark the rural crime season – a press release issued this morning :)

(I said I would try to post more often… I didn’t say I would have time to post more original stuff!!)

Federated Farmers is urging farmers to report stock theft and rural crime while keeping an eye out for cannabis growers.

“Stock theft or rustling has been estimated to cost the farming community some $120 million each year,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson.

“Rustling is underhanded as a stolen animal may have been specifically bred from a line of genetics making it pretty much irreplaceable.  Aside from taking food off any farmers’ table, if the animal is part of a farm’s capital breeding stock, it becomes a double kick in the guts. At this time of the year we are in the perfect rural crime storm.  Illicit cannabis growers are at work, the rustlers are hitting farms and we expect equipment and even fuel theft.  I have no doubt in some cases the three are interrelated. When you are dealing in the black economy the norms of good behaviour go out the window while a nasty self-interest creeps on in. At this time of the year cannabis growers will focus on back country areas by planting among crops which can mask plantations from all but the air.  They’ll actively use cultivated land because it provides the best environment for a crop that no farmer wants.”

But now there are tools for rural communities to fight back with.

“First, there’s the ‘Stop Stock Theft’ website partnership comprising Crimestoppers NZ, NZX-Agri and the Police.  It allows victims to report stock theft anonymously to help the Police to build up intelligence on when and where the theft took place and what stock was taken. Farmers should also report all crimes to the Police, especially that involving farm equipment and fuel. We can help the Police by being its local eyes and ears.  If you or your staff see something that does not look right then please take down the vehicle registration number and if possible, a description of the occupants.”

Farmers can provide information anonymously through the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

If anyone feels as if they or their family may be in danger then do not hesitate to call 111.


Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | January 15, 2014

new phone

Well, this shows how little I play on my laptop these days.

My last post was on December 13!! I can now access emails on my phone so only tend to sit down at the computer now when I have work to do, which is novel (*wink*).

I shall have to figure a way to put posts on here as easy as it is to post your latest coffee on Facebook.

More shall be forthcoming soon!

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Lachlan at the Scout Jamboree in Feidlding – Dec 28-Jan 6!!

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Merry Christmas my Sarah

Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | December 13, 2013

Young Achievers

 This from Young Farmers this morning:

New Zealand Young Farmers Vice-Chairman Cam Lewis finished runner up at the recent trans-Tasman Rural Ambassador competition in Feilding. The top honour and a $5000 travel grant were awarded to Prue Capp, an equine dentist from New South Wales, and in third place was Samantha Neumann from South Australia.

Cam, a dairy farmer from Levin, keeps the kiwi success in this competition going strong. The 2012 winner was another Young Farmer member and 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion, Tim Van de Molen.

Cam won the Royal Agricultural Society’s Rural Young Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch earlier this year and was the only representation from New Zealand in the Rural Ambassador competition. The other six competitors were the top Australian state finalists.

The contestants were judged on their ability to demonstrate a sound understanding of the industry, their accomplishments, and what they have offered their communities.

Cam says the interview was the hardest part as there were plenty of questions on issues such as international trade and Australasian rural economies. The competition also required each contestant to present a speech on the topic ‘all you need is love’. Cam spoke about the road to farm ownership: “In the past all you needed was a passion for the industry to get into ownership. Nowadays, it’s not so. People need to grow themselves and invest in their staff in order to get there.”

He was impressed with the passion and enthusiasm from all the competitors.

“A&P Shows are a huge part of their lives and just being there was a great honour,” he said.

The Rural Ambassador competition not only rewards the achievements of young people in the primary industry but it showcases the promising future leaders in agriculture.

From left:  Samantha Neumann, Prue Capp and NZer Cam Lewis

From left: Samantha Neumann, Prue Capp and NZer Cam Lewis.
Photo supplied by NZ Young Farmers.

P.S. My friend Fi Gillies (horse breeder extraordinaire) and I were runner up and winner of the NZ Young Achiever award in 2000! (Damn it. Showing my age again.)

Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | November 5, 2013

Who’s Kate has been updated! (finally)

This is how I describe myself on my twitter account @rivettingkate and it is short and succinct:

Wife of one, mother of two, sister of three… writer by trade, mother by choice.

Thomas and I have been together for 20 years, married for 16. We have two great children (if I do say so myself) called Sarah, 13, and Lachlan, 11.

The Taylor family on a recent trip to Australia (Lachlan likes snakes but Thomas obviously doesn't!)
The Taylor family on a recent trip to Australia (Lachlan likes snakes but Thomas obviously doesn’t!)

As Kate Rivett, I grew up in the southern farming district of West Otago … the youngest of four girls.


This year marks my 20th anniversary in Hawke’s Bay. Thomas has been here longer as he went to Lindisfarne College from the third form after growing up in the Gisborne and Whakatane areas. Many people assume I moved here when I met Thomas, when in fact, I moved here and met Thomas a few weeks later (thank you Young Farmers a.k.a. the rural dating agency). The rest, as they say, is history.

I have been a journalist since I left school, although I started with radio and only moved into print when I returned from my OE in 1996 to work for the-then Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune. I left what became Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper in 2000 when Sarah was born and I have been a freelance (or self employed) journalist, administrator and event manager ever since.

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My past and current contracts include Young Farmers, Hawke’s Bay Federated Farmers, Ballance Farm Environment Awards, Nuffield NZ, Ravensdown, Takapau Health Centre,  Dominion Post, Young Country… and others.

Most of the “stuff” I do is rural or rural community-focused.

A year ago, I also started doing 10 hours a week (an employee again after 12 years of being self employed) for RoadSafe HB doing road safety campaigns and education in Central Hawke’s Bay.

And… I am a member of the Takapau Volunteer Fire Brigade.


Taken when I did my recruits training a few years ago… Sarah is taller than me now and Lachlan is going to start catching up soon!

In my spare time (hahahaha) I like to watch TV programmes like Downton Abbey, Under the Dome, Nothing Trivial and any old one on the Jones channel  (love My Sky where I can record them and watch them at my convenience, usually when I am having trouble with procrastination) and I also enjoy listening to my children play their piano exam pieces over and over and over and over and over….

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