Support system . . . (From left) Jo Hay, Kara Tartonne and Sarah Isbister are the driving force behind Lipgloss and Gumboots, a group created to give women in farming the confidence to add value to their business. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

It’s been a dream for the team behind Lipgloss and Gumboots since it began, and now the Waitaki Farming Ladies Long Lunch is a reality.

The inaugural event is the brainchild of North Otago women Jo Hay, Sarah Isbister, Kara Tartonne and Amy Francis, and will be held at the Weston Hall on Tuesday, from 10am to 2pm.

“We decided we’d love to be able to support one big event a year, just to be able to get the wider community of women connecting,” Mrs Hay said.

Lipgloss and Gumboots was formed in 2018 to help provide women with the skills and confidence to add value to their farming business. The group had been running more regular, smaller workshops, but this was the first event on this scale.

“Our aim is to provide an opportunity to let women connect with each other, have a bit of fun, be entertained, and go home inspired, really.”

There would be two guest speakers – personality expert and award-winning speaker Allison Mooney, and Otematata farm cook, mother and author Philippa Cameron.

Oamaru chef and Beef + Lamb New Zealand ambassador Pablo Tacchini would be providing a “showcase” of red meat and local produce for the midday meal.

Mrs Hay had heard Allison Mooney speak at an event recently, and said she was “really, really good”.

“She’s hilarious, and really relatable, and at the same time has a really good message … and I can still relate her message to practical life, as I’m doing things.

“She calls herself the people interpreter, and her whole thing is going to be about personalities and understanding them, in your relationships with your spouse, with your workmates, with your children. And when you understand the things that are important to that person and their personality traits, it makes it a lot easier to understand them and communicate with them in a meaningful way, I guess.”

After lunch Mrs Cameron would speak on the importance of a woman’s role on-farm, Mrs Hay said.

“Just having pride in it, no matter what it is. Even if you just cook for people, it’s actually really important. It’s not just cooking for people, it’s a whole lot more than that.

“She does that really well, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

The speakers would also hold question and answer sessions.

Beef + Lamb, FMG, and the Otago Rural Support Trust were sponsoring the event, covering the costs of the speakers and gifts for all attendees.

Mrs Hay said her group was overwhelmed by the support it had received.

“It shows they see a real worth in the women in our industry.”

Donations from local businesses had provided goods to be raffled, including a child’s ride-on tractor and trailer, with all those proceeds going back to Otago Rural Support Trust.

The event was important and quite timely, because a lot of rural woman might have “very stressed” husbands at home, she said.

“Pressures are coming off slightly now, but still not really. And it’s not only the weather, it’s all the policy.”

The event was about rural women connecting and looking out for each other.

“I’m so excited … because we’ve got a real big mix of women … and from a really wide area as well.

“We didn’t want an exclusive event. We wanted it to be open to everyone who would like to come. And hopefully, we thought at $30, that was reasonable, and it must be, because tickets are being snapped up.”