Sandra Matthews is a Hill Country Sheep and Beef farmer from Rere, NW of Gisborne. She works hands on with husband Ian on 536ha, Te Kopae Station. They purchased the farm 14 years ago and are the 4th generation of Matthews family to farm the land at Rere over 107 years.

Being a “townie” and thrown into remote country life was an ongoing challenge, but over the yearshas made Sandra the person she is today.

Being a “townie” and thrown into remote country life was an ongoing challenge, but over the yearshas made Sandra the person she is today.

Sandra grew up in a small rural Australian town, not from a farming family. She worked in the finance industry in Australia, England and New Zealand, and moved to Rere 24 years ago when she married Ian. Being a “townie” and thrown into remote country life was an ongoing challenge, but over the years has made Sandra the person she is today. She completed a Farm Business Management course, when her two children were young, to understand the intricacies of farm business and to appreciate the life she had married into.

Sandra is co-founder and Chairperson of Farming Women Tairawhiti, an educational and supportive group for rural women in the Gisborne region. She is also Co-ordinator of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust Regional Hub programme and is training as a Communications Facilitator for the Understanding Your Farm Business programme.

Sandra is enthusiastic and passionate about helping rural women to understand the pivotal role they play in their farming business, whether it be supporting in the home or working out on farm. Sandra feels by connecting farming women they are able to share their experiences and this is a major contributing factor in enabling women to see their value.

Sandra’s goal is to succeed on their own family farm by growing healthy, happy animals, working sustainably, caring for the environment and enjoying quality time working alongside her husband. Sandra is happy working with her over enthusiastic dogs (who sometimes listen. …or not!) bringing the sheep into the yards, working on budgets and stock reconciliations or sitting down to talk about the days work around the dinner table.... agri-business is her way of life. She is proud to call herself a New Zealand farmer producing grass fed, sustainable, antibiotic free, red meat for world markets.

Not bad for an Aussie townie Sandra, not bad at all! You are helping women in the primary industries on such a impressive level. Thanks for all you do for us all.