Trustees search by RST

Rural Support Trust chairman Josh Dondertman is keen to hear from people interested in becoming RST trustees in Mid Canterbury.
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Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust is looking for more trustees to help support those in the rural community. It is part of the trust’s ongoing planning.

Expressions of interest are to be notified by email or phone to chairman Josh Dondertman by November 18.

Mr Dondertman, a dairy farmer at Rakaia, said having additional members to help across volunteering roles would be beneficial for those doing it tough in the rural industry.

He joined the trust in September 2019, alongside fellow dairy farmer Cole Groves.

Both dairy farmers were appointed to the RST board of trustees, and Mr Dondertman, as well as being chairman, is now also chair of the RST community welfare committee.

“The Mid Canterbury Rural Support trust has had an eventful and busy time in recent years supporting our rural community through MBovis, floods, winds and the general highs and lows of farming in our region,” he said.

‘‘We are experiencing unprecedented stress in our rural communities, resulting in high levels of need for support across all facets of life for our farmers.”

Rural Support Trust use local, rural people familiar with issues to help others in all kinds of situations get through their current challenges.

When Josh started with the trust, he along with wife Rebecca, were sharemilking at Coldstream and milking 1300 cows. They moved to Rakaia this season and are milking 800 cows.

Josh grew up on a dairy farm in the Wairarapa and always knew it was the calling for him.

But he went to university to broaden his horizons, which is where he met Rebecca.

The pair headed to Tasmania, in Australia for a few months milking.

It turned into a year and a half, and they returned to New Zealand and put down roots.

A couple of seasons milking thousands of cows in New Zealand convinced Josh the South Island had better opportunities and infrastructure so they moved south and took up an equity partnership in Culverden milking 3000 cows.

Josh was in the Rangitata catchment when the 2019 floods hit the area. Many farmers and landowners were affected.

It spurred him to action and he joined the trust.

As a way to help farmers facing challenges the trust is seeking new members, particularly those with governance experience.

There is more workload, and it is increasingly complex.

Josh encourages anyone who may be interested, or just want to find out more, to give him a call.

Trustees meet monthly and include people with differing skills needed to help others in the rural community facing adverse conditions ranging from weather-related needs, through to mental wellbeing, financial or legal issues.

The trust works with people to get them to a place where they can move forward.

Anyone interested can email their contact details, by November 18, to Mr Dondertman at [email protected], or phone him directly on 021 869 212.

Help through Rural Support Trust is also available on 0800 787 254.