Special Hyundai Country Calendar Episode 8
Country Calendar Special - Episode 8, screening Fri 30 November at 7.30pm on TV ONE:
The eighth episode in a special series of 10 one-hour programmes revisiting some of our favourite recent stories.
In this episode we meet three rural women who are making their mark on the land.
A Good Keen Girl
Erin Reed decided to enter the Rural Good Keen Girl competition at the National Agricultural Fieldays because she coveted one of the prizes - but it wasn't the luxury trip for two to Raratonga.
"It was the chainsaw I was after - everything else was just a perk," says the 29-year-old farm worker. Erin kept the prized possession in her wardrobe for the first few months, moving it outside only once she'd started using it and "it was leaking a bit of oil".
Erin has three sisters and her family jokes that she is the token boy their father never had. The family owned a farm in Tolaga Bay on the North Island's East Coast and Erin was a "daddy's girl" who used to wake up at five in the morning to make sure he wouldn't leave her behind when he went mustering.
By the time Erin finished her university studies at Lincoln the family farm had been sold. She did a few city jobs but had a "light bulb moment" one day while cleaning out a toilet in a campervan.
"I was not enjoying it and I thought back over all the things I had done and realised I was happiest when I'd been farming."
A few years back, Erin shifted to Patoka, near the foothills of the Kaweka Ranges inland from Napier, and was working as the sole shepherd on a sheep and beef property when she won the Good Keen Girl title.
She has a team of six dogs, can handle big farm machinery, and do everything her boss, Ian Crosse, wants her too. "She's also got a great personality," says Ian. "Not many shepherds have a smile like Erin's."
Despite the isolation, Erin's not lonely. As well as the animals to keep her company, there are other single farm workers in the district who regularly get together for dinner or at Young Farmers meetings.
Erin says she had an amazing year as New Zealand's Rural Good Keen Girl and the opportunities it gave her boosted her confidence. She went on to take a new job as second in charge at a dairy farm in the Patoka area. The hours are long but it's helping her save money to reach her goal of owning her own farm.
Shear Hard Slog
Emily Welch is one of those extraordinary women Country Calendar often finds in rural communities.
She has a young family, is a partner in two businesses with her husband Sam, and makes time to help her parents in yet another venture.
Emily and Sam run a successful sheep stud and a shearing business which employs up to 25 workers at the height of the season.
They are both expert shearers - Emily gained a world record for shearing lambs over nine hours in 2007 and Sam broke a two-stand world record with Stacey Te Huia in early 2012, for shearing ewes over nine hours.
Emily was brought up on a coastal sheep farm at Waikaretu, just south of Port Waikato. After studying for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, she came home to pursue her interests in shearing and farming.
Her father, farmer and shearer Phillip Woodward, encouraged her to enter shearing competitions and that's where she met Sam, who's equally passionate about shearing.
Aside from their shearing business, which they own with another couple, Emily and long-time family friend Kate Broadbent are in charge of a Coopworth sheep stud that used to belong to Emily's uncle.
Emily leases her parents' farm and runs the stud there with excellent results - recently, Nikau Stud received big prices for its rams at the Tuakau saleyards.
On top of all this, Emily's parents, Phillip and Anne, have opened a café at Waikaretu and offer tours of the remarkable Nikau Cave that runs beneath their property. The cave has glow worms and a cathedral cavern.
The tourism venture supplements their farm income and provides job opportunities for their five children and a growing number of grandchildren.
Running a number of family businesses is made possible by a system of 'give and take'. Emily's family helps mind her two small children and she reciprocates when needed, usually as a waitress and tour guide.
In the evenings, when she and Sam are not on the phone juggling employees for their gangs, Emily is often preparing food for their shearers.
Emily says, "My mother believes children are raised by a village and that's how I can do all the things that I manage to do."
For more on Emily Welch winning her shearing world record, www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvpL8JINZkk
To contact Clayton-Greene and Welch Shearing, email email@example.com
Kaye Crawford grew up in Christchurch but wanted to live on the land from the day she visited a farm on a school trip.
She was determined to follow her dream and studied for a Diploma in Agriculture at Lincoln University. She then worked on farms till jobs became hard to get in the early 1980s.
Although that forced Kaye to try her hand at a variety of other occupations, she eventually got back to her passion and now helps run a mixed farm near Mt Somers in Canterbury.
"It's the best office in the world. The scenery is great. I usually have my earphones on, listening to the radio and four or five dogs at my feet."
Kaye loves the physical side of the job including rounding up sheep, drafting lambs and even fencing.
"Fencing is very satisfying," she says. "I can't wait to get to the end and see how straight and tight it is."
But Kay says farm work does have its downside.
"Farmers think they, and their staff, should work from dawn to dusk every day of the week."
In a previous job she was often too busy or too tired to accept invitations to go out and eventually people stopped asking.
But Kay reckons she's now got the balance about right because she shares the farm work with the property's owner Robert Schikker.
He says having Kaye around frees him up to spend more time with his wife and three children.
"You think you're doing your best working all day and all night earning money for the family, but they'd rather see you."
And Kaye's happy too as she now has time to pursue other interests, including singing.
"Whatever I did as a kid I'd be singing - I always wanted to be on the stage."
Kaye started going to karaoke nights at a local pub about 15 years ago and, more recently she's taken up busking. She says it's not about making money but getting out into the community, meeting people and doing something she enjoys.
Horse trekking is another favourite pastime and Kaye regularly heads out with the Methven Adult Riding Club on her horse Johnny Rotten.
Kaye thought living and working in the country would be the perfect place to meet Mr Right but it hasn't worked out that way. "There are not many men per hectare out here - they're thin on the ground!"
She tried on-line dating for two years but says these days she's content sharing her cottage with two cats and her five dogs.
"For the first time in my life I feel like I don't have desperate written across my forehead because I don't feel I am anymore. It used to bother me that I'd get old and never find love but I've got some good friends around here."
To contact the Methven Adult Riding Club, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about studying agriculture at Lincoln,