Chance to put rural issues to politicians

Rural Woman New Zealand Hampden branch president Leona Trimble attended the organisation's recent Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington. Supplied photo
Rural Woman New Zealand Hampden branch president Leona Trimble attended the organisation's recent Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington. Supplied photo
''Inspirational'' is how Hampden woman Leona Trimble describes her recent experience.

''I gained inspiration, knowledge, confidence ... insight into the corporate and political world.

''It has enhanced my leadership skills and I'm already putting what I've learnt to good use.''

The Rural Woman New Zealand (RWNZ) Hampden branch president was one of 11 organisation members from throughout New Zealand selected to attend its Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington last month.

Agri-Women's Development Trust founder and Next 2013 Business Woman of the Year Lindy Nelson led the first section and set the tone for the three-day programme.

Speakers and workshops focused on ways the women could be more effective as leaders in the community ''whatever we were involved with'', Mrs Trimble said.

The opportunity to meet women members of National and Labour's caucuses gave the group a chance to put rural issues directly to the politicians.

''It was pretty amazing to have very influential people listening to our stories.''

Watching sittings of Parliament was an ''eye-opener for all of us ladies''.

Mrs Trimble said she found the session with Volunteering New Zealand chief executive Vanisa Dhiru of particular interest and relevance.

She spoke about the roles of volunteers in the community and what skills leaders needed ''to get the best out of others''.

Ministry of Social Development representatives spoke to the group about its collaboration with RWNZ to raise awareness about family violence and the help available through a letterbox sticker campaign, ''It's OK to ask for help''.

''We have to acknowledge there is violence in every community, in all its forms, from bullying to physical abuse.

''People either don't know about it or don't want to talk about it. The sticker programme is a silent way to let people know we care and where they can go to for help."

Stickers are available from any branch of RWNZ and there is further information on the website at: http://areyouok.org.nz/

Kiwiblog founder David Farrar spoke to the group about the potential of social media to be an effective tool for advocating for rural community issues, and the need for it to be used responsibly.

The RWNZ group gave a presentation about the importance of mental wellness ''which underpins everything we do on the farm'' to Landcorp, who sponsored the programme.

- by Ruth Grundy