Get cracking - lots of hobbies, gardening, art, sewing, knitting. Things you can do by yourself. Join local groups - fire brigades, hall committees, sports groups, environmental catchment groups etc. If there aren't any - start them. And of course, see if there is something on the farm that you are passionate about, riparian plantings, calf or lamb rearing, etc. Go for it!!
It takes time to find your place. Be true to yourself and doors will open. The rural community is full of a diverse range of people. Good luck!
The best thing I did was join the local playgroup! Thirteen years later, still there, still loving it, and have made such great friends.
Wave to everyone you pass on your road!
Be fearless, strong and humble. Take advice, give advice, in a profession normally male-oriented we have wisdom in places men do not. Know that tomorrow is a new day, but always, always make sure to think or write a positive well-done job, or learnings of the day, down. Then you will carry it tenfold and improve every day!
Get a great/comfy pair of gumboots and don't be shy about meeting your neighbours - they become the community that you can always rely on.
Keep the coffee strong, the cupboards full and the nights early.
Rural homes are always gonna be a bit of a mess: dusty in the summer, covered in pollen in the spring and muddy in the winter, so don't worry too much about the state of the house. Always buy extra groceries and check your fuel gauge before you come home; the farm always comes first; keep the coffee pot warm; get out and walk the hills and breathe in the country air - we are the luckiest people in the world to live in rural New Zealand!
Learn how to put chains on the tyres before you need to drive in the snow, keep a well-stocked pantry, be willing to give anything a go and be ready for power cuts, floods, wind storms and any other natural disasters.
Don't feel like you should/have to/can do everything. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Try and absorb the first year or season, listen to what fills up a first year on farm, and then go for it. Go to bed early. Pack your lunch the night before. Enjoy the quiet.
Stay true to yourself! Don't change to "fit in," be yourself and enjoy what rural living has to offer.
Volunteer if you can in something. It can be a good way to meet others as well as get off the farm, like play centres, toy libraries if you have children. Join a church if that's your thing, or whatever floats your boat for other committees sports club/services. Agri-Women's Development Trust business courses are well worth going to if you or your partner are running a farm - either lease or ownership - they're an excellent tool to have to accelerate your farming business as well as meet other farming women in the area.
What have you found particularly surprising or rewarding about reaching a certain age?
What is it that keeps your rural community strong?
I have always loved this picture. To be honest, I have no idea why Anton, 9, was up on top of the washing line, or how on earth he got
“These photographs traverse stages of change that depict my creative mauri as an entity, and how my mauri was affected in environments that held trauma and potential."