Mt Somers farmer and former Ashburton district councillor Peter Reveley is busier than ever and is keen to roll out a new project that encourages new connections and celebrates the district’s diversity.
For the last nine months or so, the father of four and granddad of nine has been hosting muslim families from Christchurch and offering them an insight into country life and the outdoors.
He has been part of the Canterbury InCommon campaign which encourages Cantabrians to step outside their comfort zone, forge new friendships and embrace people from other cultures.
The initiative was created in response to the Christchurch mosque attack in 2019.
Mr Reveley said he became involved through his social worker daughter and more than 200 people had enjoyed a taste of rural life, fresh air and new experiences on his farm.
He was now keen to see Mid Canterbury’s migrants and newcomers embraced in the same way and eager for others to get on board.
“I’ve had great satisfaction in seeing the smiles on faces and new friendships being made.
“I’ve seen confidence grow in people who were previously hesitant and nervous, but have embraced new experiences and opportunities.”
Mr Reveley said he had been able to offer simple things like a ride in a farm trailer, a look around a caravan, a visit to the river and the feeding animals.
Mothers and children had progressed to canoeing, riding the flying fox and playing on the swings.
“They loved the trailer with the sheep crate on it, couldn’t get enough of things and were keen to come back.”
His own grandkids had enjoyed sharing time and the experiences with the visitors, who now travelled down monthly for the farm experience.
Mr Reveley said he had been in touch with local agencies including the Newcomers Network, Refugee Settlement Support Service and others, and all had been supportive of the idea of offering similar experiences to people in this district.
“There’s a lot more out there for these people to experience than just my farm.
“It might be a short hike or a visit to a scenic spot with local people, or anything that will broaden horizons and encourage newcomers to explore for themselves and make new friendships.”
Peter Reveley can be contacted on 021 0239 5402 to discuss how to get involved.
-By Mick Jensen