Reveley continues work in community

Mt Somers farmer, and former Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Peter Reveley, has spectacular office views on farm.

Mt Somers farmer Peter Reveley has stepped down as Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust board chairman, but he still remains actively involved with their work in the community.

He is very community minded, and knows he should be thinking of retiring but still works on farm around 60-hours a week.

Plus has a few things in the pipeline, such as an involvement in the Canterbury InCommon campaign giving muslims a rural experience.

And an interest in milking sheep genetics.

Peter, who is married to Rhonda, has lived in the area all his life; he was born on the side of the road, halfway between Mt Somers and Ashburton, then took over the farm days after getting married.

The couple have four children; son Hayden (who will take over the farm), and daughters; Nikki (in Ashburton), Rebecca (in Christchurch) and Anna (in Australia). There are nine grandchildren.

The views of their 220 hectare dryland farm are pretty spectacular. It has a picturesque view of snow covered Mt Hutt and its ski basin and there are sheep grazing in surrounding paddocks with newborn lambs never too far away. There are still more lambs due.

The winter has brought 535ml of rain and a couple of inches of snow but there had been no stock losses among the 250 friesian-cross milking sheep, or their 400 lambs, he said.

The Reveleys also have dairy grazing stock on farm and grow vining peas for seed with Smith Seed, who have markets with Talley’s and Wattie’s.

They have 7km of trimmed trees which offer a lot of wind protection, however they have not been immune to issues faced in the district; they have had two lots of cattle culled due to Mbovis, and have around eight hectares of flood-affected farmland in need of attention from the late-May floods.

There may be thoughts of retirement for Peter Reveley but for now, he is still working on farm.

Over the years Peter has been actively involved in the community, taking on volunteer roles with many long hours. Among them he was an active member of Mt Somers Rugby Club which earned him a life membership, volunteered and helped set up St John in Mt Somers (which then became Mayfield St John) and was superintendent for 12 years; he was with St John for 29 years and his service was honoured when he was made a member of the Order of St John.

A keen hunter and fisher he was on the regional Fish and Game council for two terms, served at Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury for three terms, and continues to be a trustee and committee member for the popular annual Mid Canterbury Children’s Day.

He also put his name in the hat for Ashburton District Council in 2004; he was elected to council five times.

“I had some opinions I needed expressed,” he said, of his decision to run.

He is not afraid to speak his mind and has often challenged others, even those behind the battle lines, especially if he thought there was lack of honesty. It saw him offside with a few of his council peers, and in other situations on more than one occasion.

He has had a direct dial to some of New Zealand’s top officials to get help for those in need, especially those in his rural community.

Fairness and the welfare of others are foremost in his mind.

His knowledge and experience, of people, their abilities and willingness to help, had been extremely useful over the years.

He has been involved in recruitment and fundraising drives for everything from getting support for a new rugby clubrooms, to getting Mayfield/Mt Somers St John volunteers and a base, then funding not one, but two first response units.

He got involved with the Rural Support Trust in 2003. When he started he was a keen outdoorsman who liked “climbing hills and running things”.

His physical fitness and skills helped with many recoveries after natural disasters in the district.

Back then the trust dealt with issues that Civil Defence would not deal with, he said.

It’s included heavy snow events, large scale vegetation fires, high winds, and the subsequent loss of stock, damage to farm infrastructure, limited supplies and power outages.

More recently there have also been financial pressures, more welfare issues, Mycoplasma bovis (Mbovis) and extensive flooding.

Mbovis was a game changer for the trust in the district, he said.

It saw an increase in demand for welfare services as around 400 properties affecting farmers, families and workers across the district were put under pressure with notice of direction orders.

Foremost in their minds was farmer welfare as the district battled with officials over the handling of the eradication. The eradication is still ongoing.

The Mid Canterbury RST started in 1991 as an adverse event charity trust with the Ministry of Agriculture, Federated Farmers and Ashburton District Council.

It now operated under five departments; RST trustees, administration, response and recovery committee, welfare committee, and liaison.

They are some amazing people there, who all complement each other, he said.