FF representative out and about

Harry Matthews
Harry Matthews
Harry Matthews is becoming a familiar face to Canterbury farmers.

The former Federated Farmers Whanganui provincial president has been the organisation's territory manager for the Mid-Canterbury and North Canterbury provinces for the past eight months.

''There's a few interesting sights and sounds and there's a lot of corners to get into,'' Mr Matthews said.

''You meet a few interesting characters and most farmers are pretty receptive.''

Covering a territory from the Clarence Valley down to the Rangitata River, and including the Chatham Islands, was a good way to get to know the region, he said.

''I've touched most areas, but to get into every driveway it will take two to three years.''

He said his role was about promoting Federated Farmers, signing up new members and calling in to see existing members to ''see how they're getting on and if they've got any concerns you can pass it on''.

Mr Matthews moved down to Christchurch in 2017 when his partner Erin Reeve took a job at College House, one of the halls of residence at the University of Canterbury.

''We just wanted a change and my partner got a job in Christchurch and at the time we weren't tied to Whanganui, so we sold the house and shifted down.''

His son Tom (20) remains in Whanganui, while daughter Harriet (11) attends St Michael's Church School in central Christchurch.

Mr Matthews grew up on a sheep and beef, hill country farm in the Whanganui region and his three siblings were still farming in the Whanganui and King Country regions.

He has worked in a variety of jobs, including casual farm work, and ran a cafe for a couple of years, as well as serving as Federated Farmers Whanganui president and working with the local Rural Support Trust.

''In Whanganui there were more sheep and there wasn't much lowland farming,'' he said.

''You've got plenty of rain in Whanganui, so there's only a very small number of farmers that irrigate up there.''

The family now lived on a small lifestyle block near Mandeville in the Olive Grove and Mr Matthews has shares in a farm in the Pelorus Sounds.

-By David Hill

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