Welcome to Future Whenua 2021*

* Note – the 2021 Future Whenua Summit is now over, but we hope that you can join us next year!

The summit was an innovative 3-day educational event bringing together people and ideas from across the rural sector.

Our Vision

Future Whenua Summit is an innovative 3-day educational event held on the banks of the Mataura river on the family sheep farm, The Montana Flat.

The theme of the weekend is in the name, Future Whenua. Our aim is to have a rich and diverse korero about the practices that could (and perhaps should) shape our landscapes in a vibrant future with significant economic opportunities to be seized. The focus is on the land, so we think it’s appropriate to get this discussion out of the conference room and onto the Whenua.

We hope that in gathering rural leaders as well as those on the cutting edge, that strong and prosperous connections will be made and an important message will be amplified.



Gates open at midday on March 26th, if you want to arrive early and refresh with a coffee by the Mataura and explore the summit site. Please arrive before 2:15pm

We will kick things off at 2:30pm with a farm tour showcasing a productive history, exciting transition and several innovative trials. This will include some scientific background from Advance Agriculture and Soil Matters for good measure. Then at 5pm we open the discussion on the status and direction of NZ ag with the honorable Damien O’Connor, followed by a classic kiwi bbq showcasing the best that local producers have to offer.

Starting at 8:30am on Saturday we will move into a full lineup of detailed talks on a variety of topics regarding land use practices and how they will affect the future of our whenua. Saturday’s hands-on workshop is titled “Polyculture Paddock” and on Sunday more of our speakers will take to the stage to carry on the knowledge transfer. Our second workshop will focus on native species restoration and will be held by Reforest Southland. Each day will also offer a bevy of Solution Sessions where speakers have roughly 10 minutes to talk on their industry and personal approach to a solution.

Speakers include

Damien O'Connor

Ministry of Agriculture

Damien O’Connor is a New Zealand Labour Party politician who currently serves as Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Minister for Land Information and Minister for Rural Communities in the Sixth Labour Government.

Julia Jones


Julia Jones strives to inspire confidence, new thinking and adaptability in the dairy industry. She has spent almost 15 years in the rural banking sector before moving to KPMG as a farm enterprise specialist, then to NZX as their Head of Analytics.

John King


As a Red Meat Profit Partnership Action Group facilitator throughout New Zealand John King sees many farmers curious about regenerative farming explore different techniques.  As a speaker, writer, and educator for more than 20 years on alternative farming perspectives.

Frank Griffin

Otago University

Professor Frank Griffin is the Director of the Ag@Otago research theme at the University of Otago, a new initiative drawing on the strengths in plant and animal production, food and health, and sustainability.​

Brad Lake

Tapapa NZ

Tom O'Brien

Welcome Rock

Pablo Gregorini

Lincoln University

Andrew Morrison

Beef & Lamb

Jono Frew

Natural Performance Ltd

Dave Maslen

NZ Merino

Marijke Dunselman

Agritourism NZ

Michael Sly

Waste to Wilderness

Dylan Ditchfield

Ditchfield Group

Matu Coleman

Hokonui Runanga​

Daniel Jones & Josie Blackshaw

Reforest Southland

Graham Leach

Otago Organics

Lloyd McCallum

Environment Southland

Ella Lawton

Great South

Nathan Surendran

Schema NZ

Alex Worker

Future Food Aotearoa

Subjects will include: food systems, Te Ao Maori, agritourism, stacking enterprises, medicinal cannabis & industrial hemp, regenerative agriculture, Beef + Lamb, arable farming, multiscapes, urban farming, biosecurity, native restoration, mycology, consumer dictation, circular systems, regenerative wool and so much more.

On Saturday night after our minds are satiated, we will enjoy a long table dining experience and live music from some talented local artists. This will be an excellent time to discuss the day’s content and meet some industry fellows.

The closing talk on Sunday will finish up by 3pm followed by an optional, semi-facilitated discussion. Everyone will be off site by 5pm.


If you are travelling from afar your options are:

  • Camp on site… For free! Toilets on site but no power or showers.
  • Book a room at one of the local pubs (which are all within a 30-minute drive from the event):
  • Stay at the Croydon Hotel in Gore (also a 30 min drive) – mention you’re attending Future Whenua Summit and they’ll give you 15% discount. BOOK HERE or call 03-208 9029

Parting thoughts...

This is a critical time in human history. Our mounting problems can be outmatched by the volume of cutting edge solutions and innovations coming out of the rural sector, but only if we employ them.

This is an opportunity to empower those solutions and join a network of innovators, CEO’s, politicians and change makers behind a powerful movement.

See you on The Montana Flat!

Thankyou for joining us at FWS2021, if you couldn't make it please check this short recap