Workshops at the estate

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Times are changing at Waimate’s Centrewood Estate.
Jo Sutherland, who owns the estate with husband Johnny, has introduced a series of workshops to attract people to the town and help local businesses.
Mrs Sutherland, originally from the south of Scotland, has been in Waimate for 13 years.
She said the couple’s original plan was to farm the land that had been in the Sutherland family for five generations.
However, those plans changed when the estate’s farmland was sold.
The couple still own the house and land in the immediate area, which is now the focus of Mrs Sutherland’s business plan.
“I run events and have just started to do workshops here. My aim is to bring specific people to the area, in an intimate group of 10 to 15, so people can spend the day here and learn.”
She recently held a cooking workshop with Riverstone Kitchen chef Bevan Smith, and a fashion styling day.
Upcoming workshops include a cooking workshop on August 12 with Beef and Lamb New Zealand ambassador Reon Hobson and a writing workshop on August 17 with Dunedin-based writer Diane Brown.
“It’s going really good. We’ve had great feedback and had a bit of a laugh. I think I’ve hit on something, but I want to build on that . . . I want to inspire people.”
The establishment of the workshops meant the Centrewood Fete, an annual fixture since 2010, would not take place this year.
“We did that for five years . . . we are giving it a break this year, but I’m thinking for doing a Christmas at Centrewood evening with just local stalls from businesses within the area.”
She felt the future was bright for Waimate and was keen to contribute to that.
“I think with the new sports stadium, that will bring people in. It’s always been probably a farming town, and I think there’s a lot happening in Waimate for a little town.
“It’s a bit like Oamaru –┬áthere are lots of events going on that bring in a lot of people.”
Further information on the workshops can be found on the Centrewood Estate website and Facebook page.