Friday, 08 December 2023 08:55

Learning from the past

Written by  Staff Reporters
Hamish McKay will be the keynote speaker at next year’s East Coast Farming Expo Property Brokers Evening Muster. Hamish McKay will be the keynote speaker at next year’s East Coast Farming Expo Property Brokers Evening Muster.

Hamish McKay is probably best known as one of the nation’s top sports journalists – but he’s a country lad at heart.

The award-winning journo will be the keynote speaker at next year’s East Coast Farming Expo Property Brokers Evening Muster. Event organiser Sue Wilson says McKay will bring plenty of humour and straight talking to the popular two-day event being held next February.

“After a few challenging years with restrictions and the cyclone, our team can’t wait for the 2024 Expo and the muster on Wednesday evening,” Wilson says.

“Our rural communities have dealt with a fair bit recently – and the 2024 Expo being 12 months on from the Cyclone – when we can reflect how far we have come since this time 2023. It’s a chance to pat each other on the back and say: ‘good job - well done’.”

McKay was a “child” farmer in the immediate post Rogernomics period, growing up on a sheep and beef farm.

“In those days you either made ends meet or you exited,” he says. “Farming will always be unpredictable, but I see the medium feature as a time when you see New Zealand really is the land of milk and honey, meat, wool fibre and even forestry.”

McKay is still very much connected to the rural tapestry of New Zealand, heading to the Manawatu to milk cows on his sister’s dairy farm and as a senior contributor and host on the REX rural radio show.

“Farming has never stood still. Every day there are learnings to be shared,” he adds. “The Expo is a meeting of the minds . . . a chance to listen, discuss, challenge and get the very latest on all levels.”

Add that to the “critical” factor of time off farm, and McKay says it becomes a very important contributor to the industry. He has also been working alongside Hear4U who have become leaders in mental health and suicide prevention. “They are not the system’s cup of tea, but it works,” he explains. “The work they do is immense and for little or no financial reward. However, the number of lives they have changed is incredible.”

McKay says it is key that progress must be made across so many fronts.

“We must learn more from the immediate past,” he says. “Why didn’t we plant more after 1938 and Bola? New Zealand should be leading the world when it comes to emissions, but at a timely pace and in an orderly fashion.”

He is a proud promoter of emission moderation and says it would be the entire country who benefits if that was the case. “Or do we risk becoming a poverty struck nation with low emissions and even lower offshore earnings? We know the answer to that, just as we know the big nations will just laugh at us and pick up any production slack.”

McKay is looking forward to pulling his gummies on at the Expo and chatting to farmers.

“I was out of farming for 25 years before starting REX radio and in that time, it was like farming had progressed 50 years.”

Property Brokers general manager rural, Conrad Wilkshire says given the recent adverse climatic events the Expo becomes even more relevant.

“We have always seen value in local farmer led industry events,” he says. “The Expo has a great track record of attracting excellent speakers with relevant information for farming audiences.”

Wilkshire sees it as far more than a local event.

“It attracts attendees not only from the wider Hawke’s Bay district but from other regions as well, so it represents a great networking opportunity.”

Mike Heard, Property Brokers Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne area manager rural and lifestyle, says the passion the company has for the region is “significant”.

“While we have a real estate focus, we feel very connected to our rural sector and being involved with the Expo is a privilege. This is a really positive event which is so welcome given the diverse challenges we have faced on the Coasts, in particular the cyclone and subsequent weather events.”

The Property Brokers Evening Muster is on Wednesday (February 21) at 6pm. Tickets are $20 and include canapes with a cash bar.

The popular, midweek, two-day Expo is a stellar gathering of speakers, presenters, exhibitors, advisors, innovators. It is a key event for East Coast sheep and beef farmers.

What: East Coast Farming Expo

When: February 21-22, 2024

Where: Wairoa Racecourse

More Info and Tickets: http://www.eastcoastexpo.co.nz

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