To celebrate the ability of rural women to run successful and enterprising businesses, Rural Women New Zealand recognises these achievements each year with a competition.
The supreme winner of the 2013 Enterprising Rural Women Awards is Rotorua woman Diane Coleman of Treeline Native Nursery, based at Ngongotaha, near Rotorua. Diane also won the award for the "Love of the Land" category.
Diane started growing and supplying native trees, shrubs and grasses for revegetation and ornamental purposes 17 years ago. She grows about 300,000 plants a year that are sold to councils, farmers, landscapers, developers and home gardeners.
Diane has a clear awareness of her market. When demand slowed with the 2010 economic downturn, she adapted to conditions. The business employs several rural women and gives back to the community with fundraising support.
Other winners were Jan Harper of Bluespur Butchery in Lawrence, who won the "Help! I Need Somebody" category.
As one of New Zealand's first female butchers, Jan has been in the industry since 1977, and opened Bluespur Butchery in 2009. As well as selling meat to the public, a big part of her business is processing for farmers and hunters.
A very successful exporter of animal byproducts from Waipukurau won the "Making it in Rural" category. Angela Payne runs Agri-lab Co-Products, which utilises animal byproducts. The company specialises in placenta, glands, membranes, tendons and glandulars, with 90 per cent of the product exported. This is shipped all over the world as raw products for the pharmaceutical and dietary supplements markets.
Kylie Stewart of Rangitikei Farmstay was announced the winner of the Stay, Play, Rural Award. Her 607ha farm has been in her family since 1901 and Kylie has breathed new life into the old buildings to create accommodation for guests who come for a taste of NZ rural life, with farm tours, horse treks, clay shooting, and shearing and mustering demonstrations.
The judging panel also bestowed a special Rural Women NZ Encouragement Award on Lee Lamb, a young farming woman who lives in Waikaia, Southland.
Unable to find NZ farm-themed books to read to her children, Lee decided to write and illustrate her own.
RWNZ's national president Liz Evans says, "Running a successful business anywhere in today's competitive economy is not easy. It takes time, commitment, money and a passion to succeed. And, of course, you have to have the initial idea to get started.
"In the rural context, the start-up and ability to keep going can produce even more challenges. The logistics of running a business away from a centralised urban area can throw up hurdles such as access to prompt transport and communication ... All our winners have jumped those hurdles."