Fiona Gower describes herself as a ”glass half-full” kind of person, always looking for new doors to open and to turn challenges into opportunities. She believes in the saying “the more you put in the more you get out of it”.
Her upbeat attitude led to her current role as National President of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ). Much of her time is spent working to achieve the organisation’s aims of strengthening rural communities. Her days and evenings are often spent attending events and meetings across the rural sector and liaising with members and representatives from a wide range of groups. It is a role that she is relishing and finds very rewarding.
Her vision is to see our rural communities continue to strengthen and is a great believer that to do that we need to encourage, empower and upskill the women to take leadership roles in the community, in business and to have more self confidence in themselves. “I get a real kick out of seeing them grow in confidence and challenge themselves” she says. “I really enjoying working with young people as I believe it needs to be encouraged early, get it working at an intergenerational level. That’s where being part of an amazing organisation such as Rural Women New Zealand is invaluable. The support and friendship I have is incredible, and I couldn’t do what I do without these women."
Fiona and her partner Terry have two children and live and work on a coastal sheep and beef farm near Port Waikato. Spending quality time with her family is seen as a vital part of her schedule.
Through her school-aged family, she is often found on the side-line at sport, cooking sausages or helping on school trips and in the water at the local surf lifesaving club. There is also the work that goes in with the local swimming club as secretary, and race secretary.
Occasionally she gets time to work on the farm, and indulge in her favourite pastimes baking and preserving, and fishing when the weather allows.
Fiona’s love of the outdoors and governance experience has assisted her on the Waikato Conservation Board, Port Waikato Beach care committee, and she represents RWNZ on the Landcare Trust Board, Police and Rural Stakeholders Committee and as a judge for the RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Awards.
Fiona is passionate about the rural community, rural life is what she knows and loves; it is everything she wants for herself and her partner and absolutely for her children.