Wee towns coming back to life

Country towns which nearly died during the 80s ag-sag are getting new leases of life for a variety of reasons.

Improvements in technology enable people to run their businesses from almost anywhere. A couple who live near us make a very good living from importing goods and selling them on Trade Me.

Changes in land use from extensive sheep and beef farming to more intensive dairying, horticulture and viticulture have created more jobs and brought more people into country districts which flows through in to the wee towns.

Tourist ventures such as the Central Otago Rail Trail  and the Banks Peninsula Track  bring visitors which creates opportunities for the provisions of food, accomodation and retail.

And sometimes the arrival of a new business is the catalyst which brings a wee town to life. Fleur Sullivan did it for Moeraki when she opened her cafe there and now Jo Seagar has done it for Oxford.  

A group of us went to Jo’s cooking school last year. She told us their first year had gone much better than they’d budgeted for and it was easy to see why. After enjoying the cooking lesson and meal we all bought something at the homeware store on our way out.

But it’s not just the Seagars who are doing well, their business has brought people into their new home town which has created opportunities for other businesses. One of which is Emmas at Oxford a book, gift and gourmet essentials store which Jo encouraged us to visit before we left town.

TV3 profiled Jo and her impact on Oxford. You can read about it and watch the video here.

2 Responses to Wee towns coming back to life

  1. J.Cook says:

    As and organic dairy farmer and resident of a rural community, I can honestly say that all this so-called eco-tourism is not a boon for rural communities, but a bane. These urban elitists show up here and think they own the place. The come in and tell us how to educate our children, how to run our towns, and how we should think. They make fun of our religion and our principles, and to make matters worse, they have absolutley no respect for real rural traditions.

    Just a week ago, one of our young people was killed by a tourist while he was hauling hay. The tourist, in an SUV, hit the tractor so hard that it and the wagon full of hay overturned. Rural America isn’t a playground for urban elitists; we work and live here. As far as your contention that you are saving rural America, I can assure you, we don’t see it that way.

    I don’t need a cooking school. I am a Wisconsin Master Food Preserver and a Master Gardener. We grow almost all of our own food. Most people I know do the same.

    If you’re thinking about moving to a rural area, don’t convince yourself you’re helping us out. You’re not.


  2. J.Cook says:

    If you want an understanding of what rural Americans really think. Visit http://www.RFDAmreica.com.


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