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Mother Nature Impacts Food & Fibre Sector

Living and working in Hawkes Bay, it would be easy to define recent weather events as simply Cyclone Gabrielle. In reality, the past summer has been made up of enduring poor weather coupled with other major climatic events. Flooding, higher than normal rainfall and a noticeable lack of sun has compounded the impact of Gabrielle, placing significant pressure on regions, communities and industries in a way that is unprecedented, or more extreme than in the past. The food and fibre sector have suffered significantly, and unfortunately in some regions is being blamed for some of the downstream effects of those events. 


So, what does this mean for business owners, growers, farmers and their workers. There have been various statements from elected officials and their agency leaders about the need to “build back better”. But firstly, we need to acknowledge what the problem(s) is, then better understand it. More importantly, we need to look after our people. To build back better we need to ensure that we remember, he aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.  


If we value this approach then building back better will ensure: staff development and training is front and centre; a better understanding of industry’s part in climate change, and how to mitigate or more importantly adapt; and how future thinking will drive a revolution in practise. With this very people-centric shift comes the need to ensure that flexibility and event response capability is coupled with general resilience and well-being of those people.  


Culturally and values-wise we are a diverse nation; our needs and our ability to understand and cope differs markedly. We need to ensure we manaaki appropriately, cherishing, conserving and sustaining each other as required. 


Uncertain, turbulent times can — and should — encourage critical reflection. This provides leaders with an opportunity to shift their perspectives and discover new purposes and values for their organisations, their people and for themselves. There has never been a time like the present for such critical reflection to take place. Well lead businesses have the opportunity to make a paradigm shift to ensure a future where people and the planet are valued as much as profit.  


Written by @paul hollings, General Manager, Food and Fibre CoVE 

Image: @Brenda Newth 

Posted as LinkedIn article 30 March 2023