New trust leader already busy

Andy Munro is the new North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman. Photo: Supplied
Andy Munro is the new North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman. Photo: Supplied
The North Canterbury Rural Support Trust has a new leader.

Retired farmer Andy Munro took over from long-serving chairman Doug Archbold four months ago, commenting he had big shoes to fill.

''It's a team effort and Doug has certainly done more than his fair share over the years he has been chairman. We are certainly lucky to still have Doug on the trust to call on his experience.''

Mr Archbold has led the trust through earthquakes, drought, wind storms and snow in recent years.

''The drought and the earthquakes have been huge. It's almost been a full-time job for him, Mr Munro said.

''Doug assured me there wouldn't be too much to do and then a month later Mycoplasma bovis spread into the Hurunui.''

The North Canterbury Rural Support Trust serves a large rural area, including the Selwyn, Christchurch, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Kaikoura districts.

''It's a big area, but we have got a good team of area reps who are all well-respected businessmen and women in their local communities, who give their time voluntarily to help others. They have a real empathy with and compassion for their communities.''

Mr Munro said he was first roped in to help the trust a couple of years back by Hurunui farmer Andy Fox to help co-ordinate the distribution of hay transported down from the North Island to help drought-stricken farmers, before joining the trust committee last year.

''It's been a fast learning curve, but there's so many experienced people to call upon.''

Mr Munro is a third generation farmer in the Omihi district, north of Amberley. He ran a sheep and cropping farm until he retired from farming and the farm is now leased as a bull-beef and cropping operation.

This has allowed him and wife Karen to get more involved in the local community.

''We still feel very much for the farming community and that's why I'm in the role I'm now in, but it's a lot less stressful when you're not out there doing it day-to-day, so I take my hat off to the young people getting into farming because we certainly need them.

''We can all fall into a bit of a hole at some point in our lives. Nine times out of 10 you can pull out of it but sometimes you just need a bit of a hand and that is when the rural support team steps in to lend a helping and confidential hand .''

The Munros have three adult sons, who all live and work in Christchurch.

-To contact Rural Support, phone 0800 787 254.

-By David Hill

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