Shepherdess magazine was started around a kitchen table on a dairy and beef farm in the Horowhenua. We continue to come to you from this kitchen table, and from many other farms, home offices and lounges across provincial Aotearoa. Our magazine is curated by a small team, working part-time hours, many juggling young children and pet lambs. In addition, we work with a team of writers and photographers who are embedded in their local communities.
Letter from the Editor
Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends. Entrepreneurs, problem solvers, business owners, project conceivers. Women wear many hats. Often, many at the same time.
As a young woman, I found the strength country women uphold almost daunting. They are so strong and resilient, no matter the odds that are thrown at them. Now, I find myself surrounded by them, and I’m continually amazed at their resourcefulness and depth of talent. This collection has been lovingly curated and its physical form has been birthed from a place of conscious intention; that of connecting and cultivating vibrant rural communities.
“We’re here to connect, empower and inspire women across rural New Zealand, by offering a place to tell the people stories of our rural communities.”
I moved to New Zealand six years ago. Before that, I was living on a cattle station in far western Queensland, one of the remotest parts of Australia. The nearest town of more than 30 people was an eight-hour drive away. Through the weekly mail plane that would land on the dirt airstrip, and weekend gatherings with neighbours, I learnt a lot about belonging and rural communities. Yet I felt the women were missing out. With a group of women, I created the Channel Country Ladies Day. It’s an annual event, now eight years on stronger than ever, to bring women from the remotest corners of three states together for a weekend of laughs, connection, comradery and burlesque.
Upon crossing the ditch, I noticed that New Zealanders are pretty quiet at sharing the good things that are going on. There’s a wealth of treasures in rural communities, but they aren’t widely celebrated or shared. In the cloud of cows and grass, there’s an appetite for people stories. I now find myself as a partner of a farmer, raising our sixteen-month old son, who is the sixth
generation to live on the family farm. This magazine is the first step towards a greater vision I have of cultivating and celebrating vibrant rural communities.
The launch of a printed publication is an anomaly in lives occupied by digital media. Yet, it’s much more of an experience. Receiving a magazine that you treasure in your letterbox is a real treat. On goes the kettle, as you settle down to read. It’s to be poured over, gently flicked through, savoured. It’s an offering of our most precious resource; our time.
I owe a great deal of thanks to Claire Dunne, the founder and editor of Australian magazine Graziher. Claire is a visionary when it comes to telling stories of women in the bush. She has shown that there’s an enormous appetite for connection; that we are stronger together. Claire has been there from the conception of Shepherdess, when it started as an Instagram page 13-months ago. And she’s been on the end of the phone as we’ve curated the first edition of the magazine, which you’re now holding in your hands.
We’ve been overwhelmed by support for Shepherdess. Thank you for the encouraging words, and to those of you who have backed the description of a concept, before I had anything that I could show for it…but you believed in the concept anyway. If you’ve come across this magazine for the first time, you can support us by telling your friends about it, buying a copy for a friend, sharing a photo on your social media, or taking a copy to your local café.
I hope that this read fills you with appreciation and pride at the people in our rural communities. I hope that it inspires. Shepherdess is a place to share the stories of the resourcefulness, entrepreneurship and courage in rural New Zealand. My story. Your story. Our stories.
This letter appeared in the First Edition of Shepherdess, published in March 2020.
Nā te wahine. Mo te whenua. From the women. For the land.
PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Where are you from? I’m Australian. I grew up on a quarter-acre block at Camden, a dairy farming area which is now on the edge of Sydney due to the sprawl.…Read more
Where are you from? I grew up in Chicago, smack in the middle of the Midwest United States. It’s right on the coast of Lake Michigan, and when you’re standing…Read more
Where are you from? Born in Te Tai Tokerau Northland and raised around Northland and Rodney. Where do you live now? Whangārei Heads (on the Pataua Estuary). Tell us about…Read more
Where are you from? The Netherlands. Where do you live now? Queenstown. What makes you excited to work for Shepherdess? I’m stoked to work for and with Shepherdess because of…Read more
Where are you from? Roxburgh, Central Otago. Where do you live now? Roxburgh, Central Otago. What makes you excited or proud to work for Shepherdess? I feel immensely proud to…Read more
Where are you from? Feilding. Where do you live now? Feilding – but I promise there were some interesting places between these two destinations! What is your favourite section of…Read more
Digital Content Manager
Where are you from? I am from Ōtautahi. Where do you live now? Queenstown. Tell us about your life in small-town Aotearoa. Much like the snow line, the number of…Read more
Director of First Impressions
Where are you from? Otoko, Gisborne Where do you live now? Waingake, Gisborne. What makes you excited or proud to work for Shepherdess? I chose Shepherdess because I am a…Read more
Lifestyle Stylist & Photographer
Where are you from? Tauranga, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Where do you live now? Matapihi, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Tell us about your life in small-town Aotearoa. I moved back to my…Read more
Project Sub Editor
Where are you from? Auckland. Where do you live now? Palm Beach, Waiheke Island. Tell us about your life in small-town Aotearoa. Waiheke is technically part of Auckland, but at…Read more
Where are you from? Emsworth, Hampshire, UK. Where do you live now? Blenheim, Marlborough. Tell us about your life in small-town Aotearoa. My husband is from Waitahuna in South Otago…Read more
Where are you from? He uri tēnei nō Tauranga Moana, nō Te Tau ihu, Ngā Puhi, me Ngāti Raukawa ki Ōtaki. I was born in Hamilton and raised in Palmerston…Read more
In the Field
A wrap up of Shepherdess in the media, recognition we've received, and causes we have supported.
We’ve been featured in various national media, including:
Shepherdess: Move over Country Calendar, this offers a different view of rural Kiwi life
27 November 2023
Shepherdess: The rural South Island wahine with a knack for creativity
13 November 2023
NZ Herald - Hawke's Bay Today
Shepherdess: Pōrangahau women bring living on the land into focus
7 November 2023
Wairarapa Times Age
Local rural women in the frame
4 November 2023
Piri Galbraith’s life as a wahine Māori farmer, dairy owner and holistic teacher
31 October 2023
Women in Film & Television NZ
Director Hannah McOwan: directing a TV series with a baby on board
24 October 2023
Shepherdess shines a light on the lives of women in rural New Zealand
22 October 2023
New Shepherdess TV series celebrates rural women
21 October 2023
TV preview: Is this the new Country Calendar?
19 October 2023
The Country (audio)
The Country with Rowena Duncum - listen from 33:50.
19 October 2023
Meet the post mistress who’s served Ophir, Central Otago, for 22 years
13 October 2023
Screentime: Anatomy of a Fall, Shepherdess - listen from 6:50.
12 October 2023
New local series Shepherdess profiles rural women of Aotearoa
11 October 2023
Tararua farmer leads Shepherdess Muster for rural women's retreat
29 November 2022
NZ Herald – Local Focus
Gisborne, Wairoa and Ōpōtiki women get first dibs at Muster
2 November 2022
A Muster Like No Other
29 September 2022
Muster event bringing rural women together
28 September 2022
Stuff’s Weekend Magazine
My Favourite Things by Shepherdess Editor Kristy McGregor
14 May 2022
Bookmarks with Jesse Mulligan
16 February 2022
NZ Herald - Local Focus
Shepherdess and The Muster
17 January 2022
Manawatu Standard, Horowhenua Mail, Stuff.co.nz
Shepherdess magazine creator putting a spotlight on rural women
15 November 2021
Manakau editor a finalist in Influence awards
Connecting Rural Women
17 April 2021
Women share their connection to Horowhenua in exhibition
16 March 2021
The voice of Horowhenua women in photos and stories on display at Te Takere
15 March 2021
The remarkable bounceback of New Zealand’s magazines
16 January 2021
RNZ Media Watch
Rural women’s stories for rural women readers
8 November 2020
'Take that break', advocates tell rural women
2 November 2020
Horowhenua mother launches new magazine for rural women
17 September 2020
Webstar Magazine Media Awards 2022
Primary Industries NZ Awards 2022
Webstar Magazine Media Awards 2021
Women of Influence Awards 2021
We have provided support for the following causes over the past year:
Would you like Shepherdess to sponsor your event or project?
We couldn’t traverse the country without the support of our partners.
Rural Women New Zealand / Ngā Wāhine Taiwhenua o Aotearoa is proud to be a Foundation Partner of Shepherdess. It is such a natural fit for us . We are both committed to the same values: strengthening, supporting and connecting rural women, their families and communities and to sharing stories that celebrate life in rural Aotearoa New Zealand
Chief Executive, Rural Women New Zealand
Rabobank is very proud of our partnership with Shepherdess. The magazine does an outstanding job of showcasing the achievements of rural women. We look forward to working alongside Shepherdess over the months ahead, to further expand the reach of this outstanding publication and, in so doing, shine a light on the unique challenges faced by rural women and the huge contribution they make to New Zealand’s farming communities.
General Manager for Country Banking, Rabobank New Zealand
Beef + Lamb New Zealand is proud to sponsor Shepherdess Magazine since its inception. Women play key roles in New Zealand’s red meat sector and are often driving decisions behind the farm gate to make a real impact. The magazine uplifts wāhine in the agricultural sector, sharing rural stories and in doing so, connecting women across the motu. We’re looking forward to continue working together to shine a light on our incredible rural women.
GM Communications and Engagement, Beef + Lamb NZ
At FMG we’re incredibly proud of our roots, starting out as a group of farmers who got together to find a better way to look after each other. Like FMG, Shepherdess was born out of the rural community with an overwhelming desire to support, inspire, and reveal the beauty and challenges of our rural communities though telling the stories of our rural wahine. The origins of Shepherdess and the ambition to do good in rural communities provided a perfect fit for FMG to support. Thank you Shepherdess for championing our rural women, their stories, and all that makes the rural community special.
Rural Proposition Manager, FMG
At PGG Wrightson, we take great pride in being part of New Zealand’s rural communities. We are dedicated to providing reliable, quality services and products to our customers, while also celebrating our people, customers, and stories of the rural community. We are excited to be collaborating with Shepherdess to share these stories, and look forward to seeing how they can inspire and connect us all.
Retail and Water, PGG Wrightson