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We've got the experts on hand, with loads of ideas on how to keep ourselves physically and mentally well plus ordinary kiwis share their stories of overcoming health challenges. 

Melanoma - a personal experience

Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in New Zealand, with over 350 kiwis dying every year. Globally, people who work outdoors and are exposed to greater levels of UV are shown to be at even higher risk of getting melanoma.

Jack Keeys is an Agri food and research insights analyst at KPMG who has had his own experience tackling Melanoma. Here on FDTV he shares his personal story including how it sparked a big fundraising drive to raise awareness for the Rural Support Trust and Melanoma NZ.

Jack Keeys

Mental Health – a personal journey

Marc Gascoigne has been farming his grandparent’s Waikato farm for almost 30 years and is well used to the highs and lows of farming. But it took him a long time to realise that there was a lot more going on, and even longer to seek the help he needed. Marc talks about the importance of catching up with mates and how making time off the farm can really make a difference.

For helplines and support, visit the Mental Health Foundation website: 
https://mentalhealth.org.nz/helplines

Marc Gascoigne
Dairy Farmer

Time to talk about mental health

It’s an important topic, one that’s front of mind for the sector due to the many stresses and pressures faced by our workforce. Mental health - a panel discussion on how you can feel supported and informed in order to support yours.

For helplines and support, visit the Mental Health Foundation website: 
https://mentalhealth.org.nz/helplines

Gerard Vaughan
Spokesperson, Farmstrong

Gerard has been involved for over 20 years in designing and implementing social good programmes. He has been involved with Farmstrong since its beginnings in 2013. Prior to that he held roles including CEO of the Alcohol Advisory Council (five years) and the National Manager for the “Like Minds” mental health campaign involving well-known NZer John Kirwan (five years).

Neil Bateup
Chair Rural Support Trust National Council

Neil is a North Waikato Dairy Farmer with his wife Eileen.  With a 50/50 sharemilker, they milk 670 Jersey cows on 240 hectares and were early adopters of Once-a-Day milking in the NZ Dairy Industry which is now becoming more accepted as a viable option for farm management.
In the past Neil has been an LIC Shareholder Councillor and served on the Fonterra Shareholders Council for the first 6 years.
He was also a founding member and have been a long time Chairman of the Waikato Hauraki/Coromandel Rural Support Trust.

Wayne Langford
You only live once (YOLO) Farmer Blog.

Wayne Langford is a sixth-generation dairy farmer from Golden Bay and National Dairy Chair for Federated Farmers, although he is best known as the man behind the “You only live one (YOLO) Farmer Blog.

Wayne’s Blog was started in 2017, on his 34th birthday. Although on the surface, things seemed good – he was married to his loving wife, Tyler, had three energetic boys and was running a successful dairy farm - beneath this calm exterior, Wayne was suffering from depression.  

After confronting this realization head-on Wayne and Tyler grabbed their kids, jumped in their car, and committed to a year of doing one thing each day to show that they had lived that day, and in doing so, changed their lives completely. Wayne has also since launched the nationwide charity Meat the Need.

Kathryn Wright
Rural Counsellor

Kathryn is a counsellor, mother of two and a farmer’s wife in Southland. She works with young rural people and with adults with rural mental health a particular focus. She has a  degree in psychology, sociology and counselling and enjoys speaking about the topic of rural mental health in a way that is accessible, comprehensive and non-intimidating She is also a writer for several small publications and has a published blog  

Prostate Cancer and the rural community

Local farmer, Phil Dombroski talks with Peter Dickens, Chief Executive, Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ about his personal journey with prostate cancer. Joining them on the couch to discuss this and other health challenges facing the rural community is Raewyn Paviour, Registered Nurse and Support and Education Manager, Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ.

Peter Dickens
Chief Executive, Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ

Peter grew up in Auckland and in his early career he worked in broadcasting and communications. For the past 20 years, both in NZ and in the UK, Peter has held leadership roles in the charity sector.  These roles have focused on disability, children's services and brain and central nervous system cancers. Most recently here in New Zealand, Peter has worked to support those in the kiwi music industry experiencing illness, distress and hardship and in developing and funding projects around the country that use music to help and heal the most vulnerable in our communities.

Raewyn Paviour
Support and Education Manager, Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ

Raewyn is a registered nurse and completed a master’s in health science with a key focus on bowel cancer in New Zealand. She is currently the National Support and Education Manager at the Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ and works alongside all our 45 support groups and network contacts. Her key focus is on education and awareness seminars and forums. Her professional network extends to specialists, nurses, GP’s, Allied Health and other professions.

Phil and Delwyn Dombroski
Cambridge Dairy Farmers

Phil farms in beautiful Te Miro, Waikato, New Zealand with his wife Delwyn . Their farm is 135 Ha effective milking 410 cross bred cows.  While the couple have stepped back somewhat from milking these days,  they are involved with the repairs, maintenance and development work. They started on the farm in 1989  as 50 / 50 sharemilkers before  purchasing it and the farm next door combining the two entities.

Maternity care in our rural communities

Expectant mothers living in rural New Zealand face a whole different set of challenges than their urban counterparts, especially around access to care. This panel will explore some of the difficulties they and their midwives face and give some advice to those rural women who are having a baby themselves.

Emma Higgins
Rural Women NZ

Emma Higgins is on the Board of Rural Women New Zealand and a Senior Analyst for Rabobank's RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness team. These roles have provided Emma with real insight into the challenges and opportunities for our rural communities. A mum of two small children, Emma is passionate about rural life, our communities, our land, and the central role of women at the heart of it all.

Sheryl Wright
Remote Rural Community Midwife

Sheryl Wright is a community midwife with 17 years experience working as a Lead Maternity Carer in rural primary care settings.  After many years in the Waikato she moved to the north western Coromandel Peninsula in 2019 and now covers this large and remote rural area.   She enjoys supporting rural women and families during this special time and believes the key to achieving a positive pregnancy and birthing experience is having the right attitude and excellent support.

Fiona Gower
Past President, Rural Women NZ

Fiona Gower is the past National President of Rural Women New Zealand and is a true “rural woman” having lived and worked in the rural sector most of her life.

Before her retirement from the President’s role, Fiona was the Chair of the Rural Communities Trust and NZ Landcare Trust. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Waikato Conservation Board and has many other community roles including being a Scout Leader and Surf Lifesaver and Instructor

Fiona was recently awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall
Associate Minister of Health

Dr Ayesha Verrall is an infectious diseases doctor, Labour list MP from Wellington and Associate Minister of Health.

Ayesha grew up in Te Anau. She attended medical school at the University of Otago and worked as a junior doctor at Wellington hospital. Ayesha completed her specialist training in Singapore and researched tuberculosis in Indonesia. In 2019 Ayesha was elected to the Capital and Coast District Health Board on a Labour ticket. 

Ayesha lives in Wellington with her partner Alice and their daughter.

Alexa Smith
Dairy Farmer

Alexa and her partner have two young daughters and run a 1200 cows on a 400 ha farm in Mossburn, Northern Southland -  the middle of nowhere but half way to everywhere. Prior to farming Alexa was a Technology Project Manager specialising in Broadcast and Radio for large scale events such as the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and European Games.
Her first daughter was born in the USA where they were farming at the time, before heading to the UK while her second daughter was born in Southland. Both her daughters were born premature and  on top of that, Indra was born in the middle of Level 4 Covid lockdown. 

Taking the Pulse of Rural Health

Rural health in decline - is there a tidal wave coming? Bringing together key voices from across the health sector including Diabetes NZ and Primary Healthcare (Pinnacle Health) to discuss the key health concerns affecting rural New Zealanders now and in the future and how to break the barriers to good health.

Mark Eager
Chief Executive, Mobile Health

Mark Eager is the Chief Executive of Mobile Health, a company operating the Mobile Surgical Unit – Te Waka Hauora, to provide low risk, elective day surgery for rural New Zealanders. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and district health boards, the service has been operating since 2002 and has treated close to 30,000 patients. The Health and Wellbeing Hub at Fieldays was established by Mobile Health in 2017 and brings the majority of health organisations together under one roof. In 2019 more than 25,000 people visited the hub  at Fieldays during the four-day event.

Heather Verry
CEO Diabetes NZ

Heather has been at the helm of Diabetes NZ since 2017. Prior to joining Diabetes NZ she has held Chief Executive roles with the NZ Police Association and the Manfeild Park Trust, a motor racing circuit and events centre in the Manawatū.
Heather has also acted as Deputy Chief Executive of New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups.
Since working at Diabetes NZ she has completed a full national unification of the organisation, driving positive change and engagement around the country. Heather has the experience to ensure Diabetes NZ continues to grow its reach into communities and through key stakeholders to improve diabetes awareness, education and advocacy.

Jo Scott-Jones
Dr Jo Scott-Jones GP Opotiki & Medical Director Pinnacle

Dr Jo Scott-Jones has been a rural GP in Opotiki since 1992, he now works as Medical Director for Pinnacle MHN, looking after 85 practices and 400k patients across the middle of the North Island.
He is a past chairperson of the Rural General Practice Network, and Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand.

Associate Professor Garry Nixon

Garry has lived and worked as a rural doctor in Central Otago since 1989 when he returned home to do his GP training.  He now combines his clinical work at Dunstan Hospital in Clyde with teaching and rural health research for the Otago Medical School. He has a long-standing interest in preparing doctors for the challenges of rural practice. His major research interest is in urban rural disparities in health outcomes and access to services.

The mental health of our rural rangatahi/youth

The mental health of our young people in rural communities is at a tipping point. We hear from a diverse group, all passionate about improving youth wellbeing.

For helplines and support, visit the Mental Health Foundation website: 
https://mentalhealth.org.nz/helplines

Jo Scott-Jones
Dr Jo Scott-Jones GP Opotiki & Medical Director Pinnacle

Dr Jo Scott-Jones has been a rural GP in Opotiki since 1992, he now works as Medical Director for Pinnacle MHN, looking after 85 practices and 400k patients across the middle of the North Island.
He is a past chairperson of the Rural General Practice Network, and Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand.

Petra White
Wellbeing and Learning Support, Piopio College

Petra studied at Waikato university where she completed undergraduate qualifications in Psychology and Human Development before undertaking a postgraduate diploma in Primary Education. She works part-time as a wellbeing and learning support counsellor at Piopio College in the heart of the King Country. She is also Mum to a three-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl.

Kathryn Wright
Rural Counsellor

Kathryn is a counsellor, mother of two and a farmer’s wife in Southland. She works with young rural people and with adults with rural mental health a particular focus. She has a  degree in psychology, sociology and counselling and enjoys speaking about the topic of rural mental health in a way that is accessible, comprehensive and non-intimidating She is also a writer for several small publications and has a published blog