When rural women come to town they know how to have a good time, Carol Teutscher says.
Teutscher is a member of the Fordell-Mangamahu branch of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ), who hosted a weekend conference for members from the wider region.
"There were 48 of us and we ate well all weekend because, in addition to all the wonderful catering, the local members brought along their baking and crock pots full of soup," Teutscher said.
Conference members gathered at the i-Site on Friday night where they were welcomed by Whanganui district councillor Helen Craig and heard from Whanganui & Partners agribusiness strategic lead Colleen Sheldon.
"Our accommodation for the weekend was Hikurangi Stay Place where we were very well looked after and we all walked down to the River Traders Market on Saturday morning. Everyone enjoyed it and had a look around town as well," Teutscher said.
"A lot of the women went to see The Secret Keeper exhibition showing at the Community Arts Centre. Some really liked it while others found it unsettling."
The visitors were hosted at The Lockett Gallery on Guyton St where they met Lesley Stead who also owns the adjoining Paiges Book Gallery.
"We were treated to afternoon tea and Lesley talked to us about how she started the business and how it has grown," Teutscher said.
"It was inspiring stuff. We enjoyed looking at Jenny Cooper's illustrations in the gallery and everyone had a good browse and did some buying in the bookshop."
Neville Gorrie then collected the visitors in his vintage double-decker bus and history guide Kyle Dalton provided the passengers with local heritage information as they toured around the city.
"We held up the traffic on Victoria Ave as Neville was manoeuvring the bus around the roundabout but nobody seemed to mind much and the women enjoyed waving out the windows."
After the bus tour, the visitors headed back to the riverbank where they boarded the historic Wairua riverboat to be transported to Upokongaro for a buffet tea at the Riverboat Café & Bar.
"Dinner was accompanied by a talk from agricultural trade envoy Mel Poulton who is the driving force of Connect Tararua," Teutscher said.
"Everyone was really interested in that because we all know the frustrations of poor connectivity in rural areas."
The conference wound up at midday on Sunday after members heard from speakers on a hemp agri-business, retirement and charitable investments, and extending health services to rural communities.
"We were given samples of the hemp products - really nice soaps and lotions.
"Steve Carey from the DHB talked to us about the Robert Bartley Foundation Initiative, taking health services on a bus to rural communities across the wider Whanganui area and we supported it with a donation which is part of what we do."
Teutscher said it was a great chance for the regional branch to spend a weekend together and enjoy each other's company and an "inspiring Whanganui experience".