October 2022 update

By Jen Scoular

We have waited a long time to open the windows of the world and I was completely blown away with how much fun it was to be in London in September. Number one, I was on holiday. No-one dislikes being on holiday. Number two, it was warm, while the rain continued across most of New Zealand. Number three, London is a very cool city, and the beloved Queen Elizabeth passed away while I was in town, and the city (and I’m sure the entire country) bathed in reflections on progress and achievement over her almost 71-year reign.

Some of the challenges remain with Covid requirements and air travel. On the plane going over, my flight neighbour, a specialist in tropical diseases, commented that she could tell the nationality of most of the passengers, NZers and Singaporeans wear masks, no-one else does. While I was overseas, the New Zealand Government finally relaxed Covid-19 mandates.

I loved seeing the huge adverts at Gatwick for Tesco Express – as you return home, pick up the essentials here. Milk, bread and AVOCADOS! We made the top three.   Avocados featured in all the fantastic lunch options available in Pret A Manger and Marks & Spencer and in salad bars scattered everywhere. I was blown away with the number of outdoor eating places – I lived in London for 9 years – I don’t think we ever ate outside. It was always too damp.

This segues far too easily into the theme of the Agritech Oceania 2035 conference I recently attended in Auckland. ‘How do we incorporate into the primary industries the changes we need to make to mitigate climate change?’ No-one person can mitigate climate change, but every one of us can take those little steps that help. And we can support our growers and farmers to uptake new practises to create more sustainable orchards and farms. A great conference – so lovely to hear international speakers in New Zealand in person, and to network with colleagues and new contacts.

There was a mention of social sustainability, and my break away told me that I had been neglecting my own wellbeing. After Covid, and the challenges of a very tough season (which has merged in to a second very tough season) combined with changes in my team, and the continued desire to perform very well, I needed to respect my own needs for a break, for a change in environment, and for time to reflect, to recharge and to regain that passion to deliver. It was a wonderful break; I highly recommend you all do a self-check to see if you too are due a break. And if you are – take it.

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