Local Focus: Shepherdess making connections

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 16 Jan 2022, 1:57pm

Local Focus: Shepherdess making connections

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 16 Jan 2022, 1:57pm

Shepherdess magazine is a print magazine for New Zealand women with a connection to the land. 

Founder, editor and mother of two preschoolers Kristy McGregor has earned accolades for the magazine and for her work connecting rural women. 

First published in August 2020, the magazine's readership is growing with a wide and varied audience. 

"It's really interesting for a magazine to have such a broad readership base, right from 25 up to 65," McGregor said. 

The magazine has a strong online presence which means producing and managing web and social media content. 

Fewer than 10 people make up the Shepherdess' core crew. 

"The beauty of it is that we are basically working from our kitchen tables from homes right across the country," McGregor said. 

She works from a farm in Manakau which she and her partner moved to in 2014, switching farming life in Australia for the dairy and beef farm. 

But New Zealand farm life was not what she'd imagined. 

"I met my partner in Longreach in Western Australia. 

"He's fifth-generation here on the dairy farm. 

"We came back for him to do the farm work and he'd go out work 14 hours a day, come home, fall asleep on the couch – or maybe have something to eat for dinner then fall asleep on the couch – then pretty much repeat that the next day. 

"That was what farm life was like and all these wonderful, romantic ideas that you have of farm life, wasn't really the case at all." 

After talking to others McGregor realised she wasn't alone. 

As an event organiser in Australia, thinking about ways to connect people was second nature to her. 

The magazine focuses on connecting, empowering and inspiring rural women. 

"The magazine became a tool to do that." 

Making connections was the goal for her, rather than becoming a publisher. 

"I hope people pick up the magazine and recognise people that they know, recognise places they know - some of those more out-of-the-way rural places." 

While it costs a lot more to produce a physical product, it's an important part of the offering. 

"We really strive for a good, quality product – beautiful design – and I think that is all part of the experience. 

McGregor said while New Zealand farms aren't as far apart as they are in Australia their workforce is much smaller. 

"I think in some ways it's more isolated because often it is a single couple on one farm or a smaller workforce on one farm, you don't have that same social life." 

- by Georgie Ormond, NZ Herald