Nine finalists have been named in the rural section of the Women of Influence Awards.
Gower, who is also Rural Women New Zealand’s (RWNZ) national president and its environmental spokesperson, says chairing Landcare will be an exciting challenge.
“It ties in with a lot of what I do which is on environment and community; they are my passions,” she told Rural News.
“Environmental awareness and sustainability are key words at present. There is a great place for the Landcare Trust to get NZers together to work collaboratively; many of their activities are farming projects. We can show that farmers are environmentalists, that we care about where we live and what we do, and we can show the projects we can help with.
“The trust can work as a conduit to all those people getting together collaboratively and give them support and knowledge and get them what they need; and support them through the process of getting more healthy rivers or catchments.
“If we build a healthy catchment in small patches it is going to make it better in the big picture with the large catchments.
“Because there is such a big focus on the environment there is a role for us to play in connecting the dots between central and local government and community groups.
“Our team out working in the field are amazing; they do a great job.”
Gower became involved in Landcare Trust three years ago when she became the environment spokesperson for RWNZ.
RWNZ national chair Penny Mudford says Gower is well suited for the role of chair of NZ Landcare Trust.
“She has been RWNZ’s representative on the trust since 2016, has a deep understanding of farming and is passionate about sustainable land use and improving water quality,” says Mudford.
“RWNZ works to build and support rural leaders and provide opportunities for leadership development and growth. Fiona’s experience as RWNZ national president, board member and a former coordinator of the rural environment portfolio provides a great foundation for her new role at NZ Landcare Trust.”
Gower was elected unanimously as trust chair late last year, after long-time chair Richard Thompson retired after being with the trust since its inception in 1996.