Enterprising Rural Women Awards announced

The South Island Rural Women’s Enterprising Rural Women Award  winner is  Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes Limited and the North Island award went to Tineke Verkade of Homeopathic Farm Support Limited.

 Cosey Toes, based in Rotherham, North Canterbury, is an online and mail order retail business, specialising in 100 % New Zealand made merino wool socks, merino clothing and other New Zealand wool products for babies and children.

Homeopathic Farm Support, in Waikato,  supplies high quality homeopathic products and information support to farmers and rural livestock holders throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Both are contenders for the supreme award which will be announced at Rural Women’s national conference in Oamaru in May. 

The Awards were judged by Margaret Chapman, Rural Women New Zealand’s national president, Theresa Gattung of Wool Partners International and Doug Langford, past chairman of Access Limited.

The judges were impressed by the innovation and adaptability of all the entrants in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Award, many of whom have had to overcome extra obstacles to run a business from a rural location.

Tineke Verkade started her business following a career in nursing, a background in science and an interest in complimentary medicine.  She studied naturopathy and medical herbalism as well as homeopathy and has been in private practice since 1991.  Her aim is to provide easily available, affordable and effective complimentary animal health remedies.

Margaret Chapman says “Tineke Verkade has built up an impressive business from early days of skepticism and little belief in alternative methods of healing from the farming community.”

Nowadays more than a quarter of Fonterra dairy farmers and many sheep and beef producers use homeopathy.

South Island winner Tracey Robinson set up her Cosy Toes business after experiencing frustration that wool socks were not available for her two pre-schoolers.  Researching the market, she discovered that inexpensive imports of synthetic socks had led to New Zealand businesses closing down and selling their machines. 

She decided to reverse that trend, setting up a business in a rural township with a population of just 300, using the internet to supply a niche, high quality product using innovative marketing, including social networking sites.

Judge Doug Langford says Tracey Robinson is resourceful, passionate and determined to succeed in the face of obstacles.  Theresa Gattung adds “Cosy Toes is courageous in its inception and spot on in its execution.  Cosy Toes is a great example of new ways to reinvent the existing.”

 Cosy Toes products are now posted all over the world, and Tracey has gone on to support those less fortunate, including organising the Cosy Toes Sock Drive for orphans in Uganda.

You can read more about Cosy Toes  here and Homeopathic Farm Support here.

The awards are a wonderful initiative by Rural Women to celebrate rural women in business and their achievements. 

The South Island Award is sponsored by Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the North Island prize by Access.

5 Responses to Enterprising Rural Women Awards announced

  1. Gold says:

    I’m not wanting to diminish award, but do you think Rural Woman are aware of what homeopathy is?

  2. homepaddock says:

    Gold, I’d be surprised if they’re not.

    Last year the winners factors which determined the winner were judged on passion for their business, economic success and community contribution.

    It’s not what the business does but how well it’s done which they’re looking at.

  3. david winter says:


    I know that the awards are meant to honour enterprise, but if I was a rural type I’d be pretty annoyed that a company that convinces farmers they need to spend a lot of money on very small amounts of water was being promoted like this (the HFS website says their preperations are diluted 30C, that means not one molecule of active ingredient in the final product).

    It’s certainly enterprising to be able to make a living selling a veterinary health product that has no scientific basis, and has been proved (as much as anything can be proved by science) to be bunk. But is it ethical?

  4. homepaddock says:

    Ethical? I’m not sure. But it surprises me it’s so successful.

    People might improve with homeopathic remedies because of the placebo affect but I’d be surprsied if animals did too.

  5. david winter says:

    The apparent efficacy is more likely to be about the humans than the animals.

    We are a narrative constructing species, if one event follows another we find it very hard not to make a causal link. Combine that with our cognitive biases, which make us place more weight on a few “hits” than a lot of “misses” and to look for changes after a treatment, and it’s easy to see how even people as famously down to earth as Farmers are could be fooled by randomness.(And, in fact, the continued use of dowsers proves that)

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