Pair getting the best of both worlds

Irricon Resource Solutions principals Keri Johnston (left) and Haidee McCabe, winners of the...
Irricon Resource Solutions principals Keri Johnston (left) and Haidee McCabe, winners of the Enterprising Rural Women Awards, with Rural Women New Zealand national president Wendy McGowan (centre). Photo by RWNZ.
Working from home means the best of both worlds for Keri Johnston and Haidee McCabe.

Ms Johnston and Mrs McCabe are the principals of Irricon Resource Solutions, an environmental consultancy based in Canterbury and North Otago.

The pair were named the supreme winners in this year's Enterprising Rural Women Awards, which were announced during Rural Women New Zealand's national conference in Rotorua.

Ms Johnston, who grew up in North Otago, is a natural resources engineer, specialising in water resources and farm dairy effluent. She and her husband farm at Geraldine.

Mrs McCabe is an environmental consultant, specialising in planning and water resources management. She and her husband have a lifestyle block at Albury, near Fairlie.

The two women established their business in 2010 and now employ nine staff located from Motonau in North Canterbury to Duntroon in North Otago, with expertise ranging from ecology to engineering, and planning to field technicians.

A feature of their business was their philosophy of fitting work around family and farming life.

''Where we are today was born out of a desire to have professional careers but on our terms, working from home, around children and farming,'' Ms Johnston said.

Five of the company's consultants were women who would not be working professionally if they did not work for Irricon, Mrs McCabe said.

''Unless we're in a hearing, we're not a `suit and tie' type of business. Our jeans and gumboots are well worn.

''Our clients really appreciate having someone turn up who knows farming. We can talk to them in their language about the issues,'' she said.

The business focused on improving or maintaining the sustainability of natural resources, such as land, water and waste, and was also involved in irrigation and catchment management.

Irricon Resources Solutions also won the Help! I Need Someone category in the awards.

Glenorchy woman Bobbie Mulgrew won the Stay, Play Rural Award for Easyhike, a car-relocation service which provides a transport alternative to a shuttle bus for people walking the Routeburn Track, among others in the area.

While walkers tackled the three-day 32km track over the mountains, the Easyhike team drove their client's vehicle 324km from car park to car park and then walked or ran back over the track, often encountering their customers.

Renee De Luca, of Putake Honey, based out of Blenheim, won the Love of the Land category, while the Making It In Rural category was won by Nicola Wright, of Wrights Winery and Vineyard in Gisborne.


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