About the Lifestyleblock.co.nz Team

Since April 2000 the website has been New Zealand's most popular online resource for the lifestyle farmer.


 

Kate Brennan  

Kate Brennan

Kate Brennan set up lifestyleblock.co.nz with friend Kay Swann after realising there was a need for information for lifestyle farmers - they knew because they were looking for it! Kate was a first-time lifestyle farmer with five acres. Five acres wasn't enough though and she and her husband bought another 10 acres a couple of hundred metres down the road. At the end of 2009, they moved onto a 220 acre bare block in Northland where they plan to build a house, live off-grid and farm angora goats. 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 021 840 151
Address: lifestyleblock.co.nz, PO Box 67, Hikurangi, New Zealand.

 

Dr Clive Dalton  

Dr Clive Dalton

Dr Clive Dalton - Clive did a Ph.D. in sheep breeding at the University of North Wales at Bangor. After lecturing for eight years in Leeds University, he came to New Zealand to do research with MAF. Because of his communication skills, he moved to the Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre to be fully involved in interpreting science for practical application by farmers. After 14 years he moved to teach at the Waikato Polytechnic where for 7 years he taught mainly dairying to young future farmers. He won the 1993 Landcorp Communicator of the Year award and the 1999 Sir Arthur Ward award for agricultural communication.

 

Dr Marjorie Orr  

Dr Marjorie Orr

Dr Marjorie Orr - veterinarian and lifestyle farmer. Dr Orr is a recognised authority on animal welfare in New Zealand and has served on several government committees, especially those concerned with writing codes of welfare for sheep and dogs. Her service to animal health and welfare has also been recognised by awards from the NZ Veterinary Association and MAF. She is also a strong SPCA supporter.

 

   

 

The Story so far...

Lifestyleblock.co.nz was sketched out on a large piece of paper at the end of 1999. Kate Brennan and Kay Swann had realised there was a need for information for lifestyle farmers and decided to do something about it! Kay had in the past worked at the Waikato Polytechnic and had been impressed by a fellow-lecturer, Dr Clive Dalton. Clive was about to retire and was keen to get involved in the project. As the millennium dawned these three people put their heads together and a website was born.

On 14th April 2000 lifestyleblock.co.nz was launched on a largely disinterested world. With a budget measured in hundreds rather than thousands of dollars Kay, Kate and Clive used email, press releases and good old-fashioned chutzpah to get the site noticed. They were helped by the lack of online resources for the rural sector at that time.

The visitor numbers started to grow and press attention followed. By mid-July the site was Xtra’s ‘Community site of the week’. Features in newspapers throughout NZ (including a front page photo of Kate’s stamp-eating goat) kept things moving. Then, while pressing the flesh at Hortenz in August 2000 Kay and Kate were interviewed by a roving TV crew and appeared on One Network News! Fame at last! From the start, feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Lifestyle farmers wanted this information; they wanted to share experiences and to ask for advice. Suggestions from visitors have helped to shape the site but it is still largely true to that first piece of paper. The site continues to grow both in content and in popularity - in fact there has been talk on the site of setting up a lifestyleblock.co.nz anonymous for the seriously addicted! One of the more surprising benefits of creating the site was creating an online community that has increasingly become an off-line community. Regulars have met up at field days and have bought, sold and swapped stock and equipment. Lifestyle farmers just starting out have been invited to visit locals who can give some pointers and we have published photographs of social get-togethers up and down the country. In fact there was a demand for lifestyleblock.co.nz hats so that regulars would recognise each other at National Fieldays. In late 2002, Kay took over sole ownership of lifestyleblock.co.nz while Kate concentrated on another project.  In November 2004 Kate bought lifestyleblock.co.nz outright from Kay - much to the confusion of many people! The success of the site is not due to large budgets or numerous staff. It’s due to the imagination, hard work and determination of Kate, Kay and Clive and the contributors they brought on board. It’s also due to the advertisers who keep the bills paid. The team have nurtured the site, watched it grow and are very proud of it - which is what lifestyle farming is all about.

 

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