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Hyundai Country Calendar


We're back soon!

We'll return to air with a 50th birthday programme!


Few television series in the world have lasted as long as Country Calendar and when we return to air we'll celebrate our 50th birthday with a special hour-long programme presented by Jim Hickey, looking at how rural life has changed over two generations.


We revisit farming families we've filmed in the past to see what has changed and what has stayed the same.


Country Calendar first went to air in black and white on New Zealand's only television channel in March 1966 and it was broadcast to quite a different world. 


Back then, our 2.7 million people were led by the last Prime Minister to have a farming background, Keith Holyoake; our biggest domestic sporting event, the Ranfurly Shield, was dominated by provincial teams; and the main industry was sheep farming, focused on supplying the UK.


Dairying was seen as a poor cousin a no-growth industry. We had 56 million sheep nearly twice today's figure and just 500 hectares of grapes, compared to 36,000 ha. now.


But economic change was coming. A group of Bay of Plenty growers were lobbying to rename their crop Kiwifruit to help exports, New Zealand had just signed its first trade agreement with Australia and jet aircraft were starting to land at a new airport at Mangere.


Country Calendar has documented big changes in the rural sector ever since but although technology and crops have changed, the people remain the same.


The farmers we film today have the same sense of entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to experiment that we found in the 1960s, the same warmth and sense of humour, the same love for what they do, and the same commitment to their often small and isolated communities.


Our 50th birthday programme shows people in New Zealand's rural heartland continue to face challenges, but have what it takes to overcome them and enjoy the journey along the way.