Based in Christchurch and a leading face of New Zealand rural media, Sarah has been both in front of and behind the camera and microphone as an established rural radio and TV host, business owner and proud founder of recently launched live daily show, Sarah’s Country, in alliance with Farmers Weekly. Passionate about telling stories and channelling information to help farmers grow their businesses and protect the environment, she has been a host for Rural Exchange, a rural commentator for The AM Show, a producer and director for Country TV and also a Finalist for the 2018 Rural Women of Influence Awards. Owner of agri-communication agency Perriam Media, this ‘girl boss’ is all for encouraging, celebrating and inspiring fellow rural women to kick goals and smash glass ceilings.
When asked what concerned Sarah about the health and safety of those in rural industries and communities, Sarah says she doesn’t understand why Kiwi men are celebrated as heroes for pushing heavy machinery that hasn’t been designed for steep country to their limits, and cultivating land that is dangerous. Sarah has also seen first-hand how important it is to check the quality of helmets to protect our think tanks – our brains – and hammers home the message that “not all helmets are made equally”.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Tell me something interesting about yourself...
I am extremely passionate about telling New Zealand farmer’s stories to a wider audience as well as sharing new information with farmers that help them grow their business and protect the environment.
What's one achievement you are most proud of?
What makes you truly happy?
Seeing my fellow women in the industry kicking goals and smashing glass ceilings!
What do you love the most about being a rural woman?
You get to be a ‘whole’ woman. Feminine and nurturing whilst tough as nails and physically strong.
Tell me about a time when you felt worried about your own or someone else’s health, safety or wellbeing on the farm, boat or in some other aspect of rural life.
My personal experience with on-farm tragedy has always been linked to tractors, and it makes me cringe that Kiwi guys push equipment designed in Europe and the US (that is not designed for steep hill country) and then they’re celebrated as heroes for having cultivated land that’s dangerous.
What practical things did or could you, your partner and / or others do to prevent someone from getting hurt?
I had a friend in a near-fatal bull riding accident, and after spending three weeks in ICU with him hanging onto dear life, I learnt a lot about helmets and that not all are made equal. So I’m quite diligent in encouraging people to not only wear helmets but to also check the quality of helmets.
Is there a time, place or scenario when your partner / workers are more willing to make changes to the way work is done?
With good leadership from the top down, culture changes.
If you could give any advice to another rural woman about work health and safety in rural industries, about influencing change in business - or just in general - what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to tell the people around you that you ‘love them and want them to be here next week’ as the reason for your concerns.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Stop doing jobs so unconsciously. Breathe. Because rushing and having an accident will really slow you down, so what’s the point?