Saturday, April 20, 2024

Call to attract young city dwellers to rural NZ

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The call is out for young people looking for their dream career to Think Rural.
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Otorohanga District Council Mayor Max Baxter says Think Rural offers opportunities aplenty for young wannabe rural dwellers.

The call is out for young people looking for their dream career to Think Rural.

The brainchild of Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ), with funding support from the Ministry of Social Development, Think Rural aims to attract young city dwellers to a whole new experience.

MTFJ is a nationwide network of NZ’s mayors working together towards the vision of all young people under 25 being engaged in appropriate education, training, work, or other positive activity in their communities.

The taskforce is governed by the core group, which includes 17 mayors from throughout the country.

The central idea is to attract people from cities to rural areas where there are thousands of jobs beckoning young people to experience a new way of life, packed with adventure, excitement and opportunity.

“With the big OE still out of reach for many of NZ’s twentysomethings; this new initiative is promising to give young city dwellers a wholly different life experience – a rural one,” Otorohanga District Council Mayor and MTFJ chair Max Baxter said.

Baxter has helped spearhead the Think Rural campaign, which launched on November 1.

He says that many young people living in cities have never experienced rural life and they will be surprised by what they find.

“The nightlife in the country is wild, and I mean that literally,” he said.

“Traffic jams involve ewes rather than utes, the local folk are friendly, jobs are aplenty and housing is still cheap. =

“Plus, young people cooped up in apartments at Level 3 might find the country life more to their liking where the only thing in a coop is a chicken,” he said.

From farming to forestry, healthcare to education, being a barrister or barista, working in meat processing, conservation or construction, transport, agricultural contracting, horticulture, a deli, or dentistry – there are a host of jobs in rural areas that are crying out for fresh talent.

Whether you have a PhD, trade qualifications or left school early, Think Rural is calling.

Think Rural has the backing of rural mayors who are lining up to make a difference in the lives of young people with, or without, jobs or qualifications.

Eighteen rural councils up and down the country are behind the Think Rural scheme in the hope of drawing a younger crowd.

These councils include Opotiki, Otorohanga, Central Hawke’s Bay, Chatham Islands, Gore, Ruapehu, Waimate, Westland, Wairoa, Hurunui, Tararua, Grey, Rangitikei, Clutha, Hauraki, Mackenzie and Buller.

The target set for the MTFJ is getting 1150 young people into sustainable employment, with funding support of up to $500,000 going to rural councils with a population of 20,000 or less to aid their efforts.

Wannabe rural dwellers can find the right community for them on

The site gives the skinny on each participating town and directs people to available jobs.

MTFJ’s community recovery programme with the Ministry of Social Development is already achieving remarkable results.

To date, more than 1300 mostly young people or covid displaced workers have found sustainable employment through the partnership with councils providing pastoral care and funding incentives to employers to support retaining and recruiting young people not in education, employment or training into work.

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