Taking a calculated risk

A wedding is a great way to celebrate especially this year with all the Covid disruptions.

In Editor’s Note4 Minutes
Howl of a Protest event. Dunedin, Friday 16 July 2021. Photo: Chris Sullivan/Country Wide Magazine

A WEDDING IS A GREAT WAY TO celebrate especially this year with all the Covid disruptions.

A niece was recently married after debate about whether it should go ahead or not due to the uncertainty caused by Covid. Unlike some cancelled events and closures where the easier option was taken, they took a calculated risk.

So despite Covid and the threat of rain it was held on a farm with the ceremony in the garden and the reception in a big shed. Vaccine passes were checked, family and friends pitched in to serve the catered food and drink. It was a wonderful occasion.

Two weeks earlier Groundswell held its ‘Mother of all Protests’.

There was a lot of talk and fear about the protests being hijacked by anti-vax protestors with warnings from within the ag sector against it going ahead. Masterton’s protest was cancelled.

My 18-year-old daughter, a university student, was keen to join the protest and made signs for the drive through Timaru. She made three but gave one to a signless couple. We slowly drove up and down the main street, utes and tractors tooting. People in the vehicles waving to the bystanders, them waving back. It was all good fun. There was a feeling of camaraderie and achievement. Getting into town and protesting must be a great mental health tonic for farmers.

Protest hijackers didn’t appear in Timaru nor it seems anywhere else, apart from a minor disturbance in Wellington. The day before the protest we passed through Oamaru and anti-vaxers lined the street. Among the signs one read, ‘Toot for farmers’. A pre-emptive attack by a farmer supporter?

The Groundswell protest organisers and supporters took a calculated risk. Several farmers later told me they regretted not going. How many others regret not joining in?

My daughter now wants to go to the Wellington protest in February. She’s not off a farm, but has extended family farming and loves visiting the family farm.

Farming is part of her culture and she embraces it.

As 2021 draws to a close, is there any better way to celebrate the good work of the Country-Wide journalist team than by winning the Rongo, agricultural journalism’s supreme award?

It was for our series investigating regenerative agriculture from November 2020 to June 2021. This is the second win in three years and both wins were based on good, fundamental and credible journalism.

Reputation is everything in journalism. After 32 years as a journalist I am dismayed at the state of NZ journalism. There is a lack of oversight of journalists who don’t seem to understand their profession. They appear biased and/or to be political activists.

A journalist should gather the facts without fear or favour to bring the reader closer to the truth.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Thank you for your support in 2021 and we are looking forward to working for you in 2022.

Terry Brosnahan, editor Country-Wide