Meet the reporting team behind Rural Life

Meet the reporting team behind ‘Rural Life’


Sally Brooker
Sally Brooker
SALLY BROOKER:
Rural Reporter, Central Rural Life

sally.brooker@alliedpress.co.nz

Sally Brooker began her rural experiences near Hastings, where she grew up on a 3.6ha asparagus patch then moved to a 6ha mixed fruit orchard.
Having studied at Massey University, she married into a family farming steep hill country in the Rangitikei district and became the rural reporter for the Manawatu Evening Standard.

After 15 years living on sheep and beef farms, Sally shifted to Oamaru 20 years ago.
She reported on rural matters on and off for the next 14 years, then in 2012 joined Allied Press as a fulltime rural reporter.


Alexia Johnston
Alexia Johnston

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Reporter, The Courier and Central Rural Life

021 147-8570

alexia.johnston@timarucourier.co.nz

Alexia Johnston, who divides her time between The Courier and Central Rural Life, is based in Timaru and covers the South Canterbury region.
Alexia spent her earlier years on a mixed sheep and cropping farm in Rakaia.

In 2005, she ventured into the world of journalism, a career which has seen her work across various sectors, publications and regions, as far as Marlborough in the north and Waitaki in the south.
Her gumboots live under her desk.


David Hill
David Hill

DAVID HILL
Reporter, North Canterbury News and Central Rural Life

027 559-8882

david.hill@alliedpress.co.nz

David Hill was born and bred on the edge of Oamaru, surrounded by sheep and breeding bantams, although he was always very much a townie.

After attending Canterbury University in the mid-1990s, he got his first stint of rural reporting during a two-year spell at The Ensign, being thrown into the deep end at the Gore ram fairs and Southern Field Days.

After more than a decade out of the loop, he rejoined Allied Press with the Courier Country (now Central Rural Life) in January 2011 as a city boy living in quakedamaged east Christchurch.

While he still lives in the city, he now writes for North Canterbury News and Central Rural Life, mainly reporting on urban events, but occasionally escaping to the country.


Nicole Sharp
Nicole Sharp

NICOLE SHARP
Reporter, Southern Rural Life

027 546-5475

nicole.sharp@alliedpress.co.nz

Growing up in gumboots, Nicole Sharp was always destined for a career in the agriculture sector.

Her life has always been spent on horseback or in the sheep yards and for a short stint, even in the cow shed.

In 2013 she entered the wonderful world of journalism, a fresh-faced 18-year-old not long out of high school.

Nicole joined the Southern Rural Life team in 2014, and became the full time Southland reporter at the start of last year. A born and bred Southlander, famous for her heavily rolled Rs, Nicole is incredibly passionate about the agriculture sector and when not trudging round sales or paddocks, can still be found sneaking off for a cheeky horse ride.


Sally Rae
Sally Rae

SALLY RAE
Agribusiness Reporter

027 529-6040

sally.rae@odt.co.nz

Sally Rae has worked as a journalist for the Otago Daily Times for the past 23 years, the last seven as agribusiness reporter.

Sally comes from a sheep farm in North Otago and remains actively involved in farming, with a passion for all things rural.

Sally won the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism award for 2017, an award which encouraged journalists to report on the achievements of women living and working in rural communities.

She has also written two ruralthemed books — Gold Dust and Saddle Bags, and The Snow Farmer.

Jonny Turner
Jonny Turner
JONNY TURNER
Sports and Racing Reporter, Otago Daily Times

027 547-1380

jonny.turner@odt.co.nz

Otago Daily Times sports and racing reporter Jonny Turner describes the role as his dream job.

After two and a-half years as a rural journalist, the Southland-bornand-bred reporter made the move to cover racing in November 2016 — something that has always been in his blood.

If you ever need to find Jonny, chances are you will find him at the racetrack.

Jonny covers every race meeting in Otago and Southland as part of the Otago Daily Times’ dedication to both local news and racing coverage.

Jonny regularly turns his hand to sports reporting and the upcoming field days offer him the perfect opportunity to do that, as well as return to his rural southern roots.

The award-winning journalist will be covering all of the action from this year’s Highlanders v Crusaders pre-season match at Fred Booth Park.


Yvonne O'Hara
Yvonne O'Hara
YVONNE O’HARA
Reporter, The News and Southern Rural Life

0275 378-240

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

Even though Yvonne O’Hara was a townie from Nelson, she always knew she wanted to be a rural reporter.

After working in a shop, office and bank, at 36 she attended Wellington Polytechnic’s journalism course, then spent two years at the Wainuiomata News, and two years at the Central Otago News.

She started working on SRL in 2004 and it turned into her dream job.

Since then, she has won the national New Zealand Community Newspapers Association Independent Better Newspaper Awards’ Best Senior Journalist (associate category) twice and the paper has won Best All Round Newspaper (associate category) in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.

She was awarded a media grant from the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation to write features on rural mental health in 2009 and 2015, which won Australian awards.

She was given an Aotearoa-New Zealand Science Journalism Fund grant to write a series of articles about climate change last year.

 

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