Rural Contractors NZ annual conference 2017

Some 200 agricultural contractors from all around the country made the trip to Queenstown for this year’s Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) annual conference

This was a new record attendance at an RCNZ annual conference and up on last year’s previous best turnout of 153 contractors.


RCNZ chief executive, Roger Parton, says he was delighted but unsurprised by the huge conference turnout (held at Rydges Lakeland Resort, Queenstown), given the stunning location and improvement in rural economic climate.

“Many rural contractors decided to take the opportunity not only to network with their colleagues and industry people but also visit a stunning part of the world.”

Roger says the conference had an exciting agenda of relevant and pertinent issues to the rural contracting sector along with many top-line speakers. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Keep Healthy and Informed’.

“We had an agenda chock-full of presentations on how contractors can keep themselves and their staff safe at work,” he says.

The conference itinerary

Presentations over the three days covered a myriad of topics including men’s health, insurance, worker health, stress management, employment law, succession planning as well as looking after your workers and yourself.

However, Roger says it was not all serious business with a fair bit of fun had over the week as well.

“One of the highlights was helicopter pilot and local legend Sir Richard ‘Hannibal’ Hayes’ entertaining and enthralling after-dinner speech at the famous Skyline Restaurant on Tuesday night.”

Wednesday’s agenda included a field trip across Lake Wakatipu for lunch at Walter Peak Station. The evening session saw delegates entertained by international rugby referee Paddy O’Brien.

The difference made

“Wednesday night also saw the annual charity auction raise more than $35,000 for the ambulance and rescue helicopter service in the Southland and Queenstown Lakes region,” Roger says.

Each year, as part of RCNZ’s annual conference, a charity auction is held, with all the proceeds going to ambulance services in the local area. Sponsors provide gifts for the auction and RCNZ members then bid for these.

“We had a wonderful range of products put up by sponsors with our members digging deep to benefit St John and the rescue helicopter,” RCNZ national president Steve Levet says.

“It constantly amazes me the generosity and willingness of our members to support these causes via this auction and just show how much regard the services are held in by rural contractors right around New Zealand.”

RCNZ has raised nearly $130,000 for St John over the past five years. Steve also paid tribute to the Zone 4 organising committee.

“They put in a huge amount of work and set up a hugely successful and interesting conference. On behalf of all RCNZ, we thank them for doing such an outstanding job,” he says.

The conference finished with the annual RCNZ awards dinner and dance sponsored by Rothbury Insurance.

Next year’s RCNZ conference will be held in Masterton from June 25 to 28.

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