This past year has been a stormy one for rural communities.
We’ve had devastating cyclones, waves of geopolitical turmoil, dives in key commodity prices, and the wind of change blowing through parliament.
A lot of the discourse has centred on picking sides – the left or the right, the town or the country, Māori or pākeha.
It’s all a bit dehumanising.
This final edition of Farmers Weekly for the year, Land Champions, is about people.
It’s a celebration of those who make our communities flourish. Each has a unique story to tell and we’ve gathered up an inspiring collection of those stories here.
With the online world and social media dominating much of our lives these days, it’s easy to see people as avatars of an ideology or as part of an echo chamber.
But that does a disservice to all of us.
The wonderful thing about our small towns and rural communities is the way people are there for each other, whether the person in need is a neighbour of 40 years or a stranded tourist.
It’s an attitude born of necessity and it could be argued that right now we need to strip away our assumptions again, if we’re to build the communities we desire.
There are many reasons for optimism as we head into 2024, despite the patchy global forecast.
Much of that hope comes from the great people who keep our food production industry ticking over.
Have a fun and safe festive season and thanks for reading.