A life-changing shift from the big city lights of Auckland to farming in the central North Island is the focus for the Dairy Women's Network second installment in its visual story telling project, Our People. Their Stories.

Dylan and Emily Hilhorst now firmly call themselves dairy farmers after they left building and marketing jobs to set up a new rural life in Tirohanga, north of Taupo.

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The couple both agreed it was the best decision they'd ever made and there was no place they'd rather be.


"There's such an amazing sense of community, something you'd never get in the city" Emily said.

"It really is the best decision we've ever made; we get to wake up every day to this beautiful piece of paradise".

The couple also spent a year transforming an old 1950's telephone exchange into a secluded oasis of glamping nostalgia.

The project was evidence of their strong environmental focus and diversification - as well as giving the telephone exchange a new lease of life, said Dairy Women's Network CEO Jules Benton.

Watch Emily's story below:

"They are such an inspiring couple showcasing their love of family, community and dairying in their own special way and wanting to share it through-off-the-grid accommodation".

The Dairy Women's Network was "just getting started" with the Our People. Their Stories. project, and the response to the first video featuring nine-year-old Lucy O'Reilly had been "fantastic" said Benton.

Dylan and Emily Hilhorst now firmly call themselves dairy farmers. Photo / Supplied
Dylan and Emily Hilhorst now firmly call themselves dairy farmers. Photo / Supplied

"We are really excited to launch our next one. We are committed to visually telling these
amazing stories that touch people and inspire, educate and engage and provoke emotional responses".

Three stories had already been produced with another two to be done before Christmas said Benton. There were also plans to release one more before mid-December.


"This story telling project is about creating deeper engagement with our Dairy Women's Network members and ultimately the dairy industry. The stories we are telling are real, authentic and from the heart and are showcasing how women are making a substantial difference to the success of dairy businesses that contribute to a better New Zealand".

Meanwhile, Emily Hilhorst was clear she would never go back to city life.

"You can never take the country out of the girl, I feel like that now," she said.

"I feel like I'm the country girl".