Rural round-up


Hard work earned admiration of all:

WHEN it came to work ethic, it would be hard to look past legendary North Otago market gardener Reggie Joe.

For more than 45 years, Joe’s Vegie Stall on State Highway 1 at Alma has been a landmark. From humble beginnings as a small roadside stall with an honesty tin, the business expanded to a busy operation, attracting a loyal following of customers.

His wife Suzie acknowledged it was his garden and customers that Mr Joe put first, followed by his family for whom he did it all.

His ambition in life was simple; to create a better future for his four children. Having known hardship firsthand, he was determined they would receive a good education.

Mr Joe died peacefully, surrounded by his family, in Dunedin Hospital on June 8, aged 82. . . 

Primary industries feel under siege as prospect of Labour-led govt firms:

INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NEWS – The divide between regional and urban politics is being thrown into ever sharpening contrast as the election campaign unfolds. Agricultural industries and rural communities feel under siege in the looming election.

As reported in Trans Tasman’s sister publication The Main Report Farming Alert, weeks ago the chances of a Labour-led government seemed unlikely, but now the chance of this happening seems possible with policies which could prove ruinous for NZ’s main export industries.

Labour will tax users of water, including farmers (but not those companies using municipal supplies). Both the Greens and Labour are committed to bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme and say the carbon price should be higher. They have not stated how high they want animal emissions to be taxed. . . 

Farming leaders pledge to make all rivers swimmable – Gerard Hutching:

Farming leaders representing 80 per cent of the industry have pledged to make all New Zealand rivers swimmable, although they don’t say how or by when.

Confessing that not all rivers were in the condition they wanted them to be, and that farming had not always got it right, the group said the vow was “simply the right thing to do”.

Launching the pledge by the banks of the Ngaruroro River in Hawke’s Bay, spokeswoman for the group and Federated Farmers president Katie Milne said the intent behind the commitment was clear. . . 

Swimmable means swimmable:

Agricultural leaders have, for the first time ever in New Zealand, come together to send a strong message to the public.

We are committed to New Zealand’s rivers being swimmable for our children and grandchildren.

DairyNZ chair, Michael Spaans, says “this is a clear message from New Zealand’s farming leaders that we want our rivers to be in a better state than they are now, and agriculture needs to help get them there.

“I have joined my fellow leaders to stand up and say that I want my grandchildren, and one day my great grandchildren, to be able to swim in the same rivers that I did growing up. . . 

Farmers’ river pledge welcomed:

A new pledge by farming leaders to improve the swimmability of New Zealand’s rivers has been welcomed by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“This pledge from farming leaders shows the real commitment farmers have to tackling these long term issues,” says Mr Guy.

“Farmers are closer to the land to the land than nearly anyone else, and they care deeply about leaving a good legacy for their children. . . 

Hundreds expected for launch – Sally Rae:

When a book on the history of the Wilden settlement is launched this month, it will also serve as a reunion.

Wilden — The Story of a West Otago Farming Community — has been written by Dunedin man Dr David Keen.

The driving forces behind the project were retired Wilden farmer Bill Gibson, now living in Mosgiel, and Neil Robinson, from Wanaka.

In the late 1860s, the discovery of gold at Switzers, now Waikaia, further sparked West Otago’s development. . . 

Keen advocate of the tri-use sheep – Sally Rae:

Growing up on a sheep and beef farm in Invercargill, Lucy Griffiths and her siblings were not allowed to leave home without  a woollen garment.

The many benefits of wool were drummed into them from an early age, not only as a fibre to wear but also as one to walk on and use in innovative ways.

But somewhere since then, strong wool had “lost its gloss”, and Mrs Griffiths wants to play her part in re-educating consumers about those benefits.

She is one of three new appointments to the board of Wools of New Zealand, a position she felt was a “big mantle of responsibility”. . .

Dispath from NZ no. 3 conflict, collaboration and consensus – Jonathan Baker:

New Zealanders are generally though of as pretty relaxed; but having spent ten days here it’s clear that the current debate around farming is anything but. From the Beehive (NZ’s parliament) to the kitchen tables of farmers, there is a very strong sense of tension. Most I talked to present farmers on one side and ‘townie’ environmental groups on another.

The main cause of the tension is the state of New Zealand’s water quality. This issue has jumped up the public agenda over the last 10 years and is now a pretty substantial issue in the upcoming election. Environmental groups, notably Greenpeace have done much to start this debate and the impact of their ‘dirty dairy’ campaign can even be felt in the UK. . .

My great-grandfather fed 19 people, my grandfather fed 26 people, my father feeds 155 people I will feed 155 and counting . . . embracing technology a family tradition.

Nothing new in discrimination


The tarry Totara soils south of Oamaru are well-suited to market gardening and have attracted a community of hard-working immigrants.

Among them are Reggie and Suzie Joe who have run what we’ve always called Vegie Joe’s roadside stall at Alma for 40 years.

In cultivating success by dint of sheer effort, Ben Guild pays tribute to the Joes..

If you haven’t time to read it in full, consider these two extracts:

Initially, it was generally only the men who came because of  the 100 poll tax that was imposed on the Chinese alone, which   could have taken a Chinese worker up to a decade to save.   

“The Chinese were so poor – that’s why they ended up travelling to all parts of the world,” Mr Joe said.   

“They were treated badly, but they put up with it because it was so much better than it was at home.”   

 Some New Zealanders could not understand what real poverty  was, he said.   

“If only some people in New Zealand today had a little bit of  hardship they might look at life a little differently.   

“They moan and say they don’t have enough to live in dignity, but that’s the way it is.   

“People have no idea how poor people can be.”   

The story of a sister, who died when Mr Joe was young, aptly      illustrates his point.   

“We were both crook; we just didn’t have the money for medicine; we just had to let her go.” 


One customer – Dr David Holdaway, a pediatrician from Dunedin      who used to come in weekly with ice creams for all the staff  – came in for special praise.

He believed such generosity illustrated a marked change in the treatment of people of Chinese descent in New Zealand.

“Kids could be quite cruel,” he said.

“And the government of the day [post-World War 2] wanted to kick us back to China, but at the end of the day they changed their minds.

“It’s just a change; it’s like the blacks in America. Not that long ago they used to treat them like dirt. Now they are their champions.”

There is nothing new about anti-immigrant sentiment and general and anti-Chinese feeling in particular but the Joes are perfect examples of what we have to gain from welcoming people to our country.

Is it too much to hope the people responsible for Asian New Zealanders being the ethnic group most discriminated against for the 10th year in a row will appreciate that and judge people on how they behave rather than how they look?

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