March 17th – 19th

The Montana Flat



Talks – Presentations – Workshops – Experts – Fireside Chats


Farmers – Producers – Scientists – Innovators – Leaders – Ambassadors 


Local Food – Live Music – Authentic Experience – Farm Setting

Welcome to Future Whenua Summit 2023!

Future Whenua Summit is an innovative 3-day educational event bringing together people and ideas from across the rural sector.

Our Vision

Future Whenua Summit is the keystone event in the Future Whenua calender. A 3-day, sensory immersion into the possibilities the future holds for productive land management and rural innovation. In 2023 we are bringing it back home to the family sheep farm, The Montana Flat.

This year we are theming the summit around “regional regeneration”. In these uncertain times we feel its critical to get the conversation rolling on the practices and cultural attitudes required to build resiliency into the very fabric of our rural communities and we are building a powerful line-up of speakers to match the importance of the topic at hand.

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

For further context on future whenua Summit, our background, vision and values check Zeb’s opening speech from Future Whenua Summit 22 at Mangarara Station.


Gates open at midday on March 17th, 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, then at 5pm we open the discussion on the status and direction of Aotearoa’s productive landscapes, 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 line-up of talks on a variety of topics regarding our countries productive regions and the steps we can take to make them more resilient. Saturday’s hands-on workshop will see us all getting our hands dirty and on Sunday more of our speakers will take to the stage to carry on the knowledge transfer. Our second workshop will focus on regional planning and the steps we can take to stack the functions of any community. 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.

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.

Speakers Include

Jana Davis

Te Tapu O Tane – Native Restoration

Aimee Blake

Future Farmers
Girls Who Grow

Dr Andrew Alcorn

Sustainability and Systems Perspective

Jesse Blythll

QE11 – Native Conservation

Rob Scott

Mayor of Southland

Ryan Burns

The Montana Flat Stock Manager

Rob Swatton

Future Whenua Initiative

Owen Darby

Phytrac – Environmental Data

Robyn Guyton

South Coast Environment Society and Longwood Loop

Zeb Horrell

Future Whenua
The Montana Flat


Jesse Herbert

Freshlink – Local Food Systems

Daniel Jones & Josie Blackshaw

Reforest Northern Southland

Delia Bellaby

Designmake – Earth Building

Rochelle Francis-Bar

Murihiku Kai Collective


Mark Anderson

West Ridge Farm

Mike Casey

Forest Lodge – Fossil Free Farming

Richard Kyte

Thriving Southland – Water Catchment Network

Leo Murray

Why Waste – Circular Economy


Samantha Walmsley Bartlett

How do we make change?

Nathan Surrendrun

 Thriving through the Great Simplification


Last year we shifted away from purchasing tickets and have been using a “value for value” model (or “pay what you think its worth”) to allow our audience to determine the value of the information we are offering. If you are in a position to support us financially then we gratefully accept your koha but if you need to save your money for essentials then thats fine too. We understand these are challenging times for everyone and have no desire to restrict access to those who have great ideas but lack the funds to attend.


Please take a few moments to fill out the attendance form via the link below if you plan to attend Future Whenua Summit 2023, please leave at least one form of contact information so we can contact all attendees prior to the summit with final information.


Camping is a pretty great option! We have basic camping facilities at the river if you want to bring a tent or a camper. Alternatively there are Hotels nearby. Please note that the weekends activities extend into the evenings Friday and Saturday.

New this year - Fireside for 5!

We’ve noted in the previous Future Whenua Summits the attendance often have as much to share ans up to as exciting stuff as those on stage. So we wanted to create an opportunity to share with the audience. On Saturday night after we’ve had a communal feast, we’ll the bonfire and those who wish to share about their regenerative projects will get 5 minutes to do so in a novel setting with a captivated audience. If you wish to present in the fireside 5 please advise so on your attendance form.

Friday Night BBQ and Potluck

We trialled this last year and had an absolutely beautiful dinner, so we’re bringing it back. We’ll supply the lamb, in a variety of cuts. If you could bring a dish for Friday night, we’ll make it a feast. The rest of the weekend is fully catered.

Stay at The Montana Flat

Anyone staying for the Summit is welcome to stay on for the following week. We will continue from the weekend of conversation into some embodied practice. Plus having an as-always, jolly good time on the farm.

Check on the web page before the event as we’ll give it an update with final information before coming.

If there’s anyone you think should be here at FWS 2023 please share this link with them today.


If you’d like to make a donation before the summit click on the link below to be taken to our donation portal, all donations go towards furthering our mission to create a world class facility for rural innovation so anything you can support us with is greatly appreciated.

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 & support them.

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

See you on The Montana Flat!

Oh, and we forgot to mention, you’ll find NZ’s biggest trojan horse at the summit grounds!

Thankyou for joining us at FWS2023, if you couldn't make it please check this short recap