New Zealanders should stop extolling the virtues of the No 8 wire concept.
The head of Spring Sheep Dairy says the No 8 wire concept was a success story of our past when, because of travel times, NZ was a long way from everywhere and we had to find a way to improvise
However, Chapman believes the link to improvisation in the form of the No 8 wire concept – from the past to the way we operate today with modern technology and transport – is completely wrong.
“The No 8 concept was important 150 years ago because it helped get us where we are today,” he told Dairy News.
“But now the world is more sophisticated and we are wanting to showcase our innovation and quality of our agricultural systems and products. Gone are the days of selling slabs of meat around the world.”
Chapman says improvisation isn’t a substitute for innovation and NZ needs to tell good stories about its primary sector.
In terms of storytelling, Chapman believes marketing slogans are of no value because they lack authenticity.
He says NZ has a good and beautiful authentic story to tell and one that resonates with consumers. He points specifically to the Maori concept of Kaitiaki.
“Kaitiaki is authentic NZ and is one thing we can talk about,” Chapman explains. “The guardianship and how it all works and without doubt that is of great value to NZ because it is really authentic, is different and it has a mystique about it that is really positive.”
In terms of the consumer, Chapman says NZ must embrace sustainability, with people who buy our food looking to make sure our products and production systems are sustainable.
He believes sustainability is “not an option” for NZ.
“It is something we need to do and all it is doing the right thing ... the right thing for the environment, the right thing for animals and doing the right thing for the consumers,” Chapman explains.
“There will be a prize for the first to get there, and even if there wasn’t it’s still what we should be doing. I think you’ll find that consumers will more than happily pay for it – even if they don’t is about the social licence to operate.”