Comment: Just as this year's Anzac Day was an Anzac Day like no other, so too will Moving Day be a Moving Day like no other. And you know what? says Rowena Duncum, it won't matter a bit.
The reason that this Moving Day will be no different is because the very word many farmers have come to detest keeps popping right back up: resilience.
Look, I hate it just as much as the next person, but the fact remains: it signifies just how strong rural New Zealand is, despite the continual shite flung at them.
So take a seat in line, Covid-19. Because, behind Rogernomics, droughts, floods, plunging stock, wool, meat and milk prices, increased legislation and a barrage of hostility from the rabid anti-farming posse, trade wars and biosecurity events or threats like Foot and Mouth, Mad Cow disease and Mycoplasma bovis, you're just another headache – and just another day at the office.
The cows still have to be milked, the sheep shorn, the crops harvested. And, as many of my friends are finding out the hard way, the schooling must go on – at home, with limited and temperamental internet for some and an ineffective disciplinary system.
I salute each and every one of you.
We've come a long way
To those gearing up for the big move, good luck. You've got this. Look how far we've come in the last six weeks!
There's no longer any hoarding of toilet paper, you can swing through a drive-thru on your way to the next farm AND I believe you can even now buy antibacterial wipes.
This. Is. Progress.
But just as Moving Day will be a Moving Day like no other, so too will duck shooting be a duck shooting like no other this year.
On May 1, the flight alert for my opening weekend journey home still popped up. A salient reminder of what should have been.
For many, the traditions built up over the past years, decades and generations will be impossible to enact.
Even in Level 2, many, like me, won't be able to make the pilgrimage home. Those with compromised immune systems or of an older generation might not feel as comfortable joining in this year. And, with the later opening date, those about to, or having just taken up new farming positions, might not be in a position to leave the farm.
Back in 2007, I spent a couple of days leading into opening weekend in Auckland for a freelance journalism workshop and flew home on the Friday morning.
Auckland airport was shrouded in fog, grounding all outgoing and incoming flights. The number of people sitting around with shotguns and camo bags must've made the uninitiated a tad unnerved and it's an image that's always stayed with me.
Also making his way back to Whanganui, was Glenn Osborne, who I swapped duck shooting yarns with for a bit and discussed how much it means for everyone to be all going home, all getting together, all catching up.
This year, not only will it be a little colder, there'll be fewer people at airports with their guns and camo bags, and some yarns between friends and family might go the way of Zoom.
And while it will mean a lot more to those still able to take part, it'll mean a lot more to those, like me, left to beg their way into a maimai.
I offer excellent baking and less-than-excellent banter. Any takers?