Amanda Hasselman, of Glenorchy, chats to Fish and Game NZ
chief executive Bryce Johnson during a recent leadership
skills programme in Wellington. Supplied photo
When Amanda Hasselman returned home to Glenorchy after
attending a leadership skills programme in Wellington, she
admits her brain was ''fizzing''.
Mrs Hasselman, of Temple Peak Station, was among 16 rural
women who attended the course run by Rural Women New Zealand.
During the three-day programme, the group heard presentations
from leaders as diverse as Fish and Game NZ chief executive
Bryce Johnson and former Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast.
They visited Parliament at question time and met Minister of
Women's Affairs Jo Goodhew.
At the Ministry of Social Development, they learned about the
It's Not OK campaign on family violence, while in-house
workshops focused on mentoring and governance, giving
presentations, working with the media and influencing local
The women practised the skills they had learned by making a
presentation to Landcorp, sponsor of the leadership course,
on the final day of the programme.
For Mrs Hasselman, the most significant realisation from the
trip was that without RWNZ at national level, no-one else was
lobbying for social issues in rural areas.
''It's been a real eye-opener about potential local and
national links and the overall potential of the
organisation,'' she said.
The course bridged the gap between local and national and
made her more mindful of the ''big picture stuff'' that RWNZ
was doing at a national level.
RWNZ was a great organisation and it was up to members to see
it stayed that way, not just with vibrant local groups but as
part of a bigger voice lobbying for rural issues throughout
New Zealand, she said.
Mrs Hasselman is a member of the Glenorchy branch of RWNZ,
which she described as a ''reasonably vigorous'' branch.
The branch went into recess in 1986, because of a decline in
membership, but was officially relaunched in November 2010
under the leadership of Kate Scott.
It was Ms Scott's great-grandmother, also Kate Scott, who
launched the original group in 1931.
The branch now boasts about 29 members who are involved with
a wide range of activities.
The next event on the calendar is a Harvest Festival on
Sunday, March 24, an event Mrs Hasselman describes as ''just
an excuse for everybody to get together''.
Initiated last year, it involves a vegetable competition,
baking contest and community long-table lunch.