The gently undulating, Salmon Gum spotted landscape of Newdegate is a long way from the running waters of the Manawatu River and Ashhurt, in the Manawatu-Whanganui region of New Zealand’s northern island. But Mackenzie Turner, her husband Gavin and their three children have no regrets about moving from a place of mountains and waterfalls to inland WA. Both worked in WA in 2004-2005, when Mackenzie used her trained culinary skills at a restaurant in Geraldton and Gavin operated machinery on a farm at Newdegate. They now live and work on a property owned by the Lloyd family, running Merino sheep and growing wheat, barley and canola. The landscape contrasts with that of his home but Mr Turner said that while he does sometimes miss the hilly Ruahine Range country, he does not miss the bitterly cold weather. And he relishes the openness of the WA landscape. He grew up on a sheep and beef farm near Dannevirke, a town founded by Scandinavian immigrants on the North Island. As someone with a background in livestock, the Newdegate farm’s enterprise mix suits him perfectly. “There is plenty of variety. We do something different every day,” Mr Turner said. During their first working venture “across the ditch”, the couple recognised the positive aspects of life in regional WA. They were drawn back to Australia in 2012, returning to Newdegate with three children in tow. While some may regard Newdegate as isolated, Ms Turner said opportunities offered to the family outweighed the negatives of leaving their homeland. “We have access to more opportunities in general terms, but in particular, with schooling,” Ms Turner said. While two of their three children at boarding school in Albany, the youngest child in the family is following in the older siblings’ footsteps and making the most of time at Newdegate Primary School. While living so far from home means limited interactions with their own family, especially during the time of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Ms Turner said that the family had been embraced by the community. As parents, they had found that help was always on hand when they needed it, especially with their children. “There is a strong sense of community here, and a sense of pride. People work hard to keep the community strong,” Ms Turner said. She said that there was something about the wide open spaces that “just made people feel good”. “The kids just love to be able to make noise and run around like children,” she said. Ms Turner said both the community spirit and sense of pride came to the fore at this time of the year, when all hands were on deck preparing for the annual Newdegate Machinery Field Days. “Everyone has a job,’ she laughed. The Turner family will be spread out around the grounds, helping with the gate, the catering, and the community bus. She said Fields Days came at a good time of year, at the lull between seeding and harvesting. Mr Turner said he enjoyed the Field Days and said his volunteer roles had included the enviable task of being on the donut roster. As a trained chef now operating her own catering business, Ms Turner will be busy with her Farmyard Pantry work, as well as with her volunteer hat on in other areas. Despite the distance from commercial kitchens like those she worked on in her home town of Ashhurst and beyond, she is far from underemployed. During harvest and seeding, she provides hearty and nutritious meals for those who flood into the area to help get the crops planted and harvested. “I don’t miss the buzz of hospitality: I get that here,” Ms Turner said. “And here the kids can go with Dad for part of every ay: he is not someone we see just at the start and end of the day,” she said. Not only do their children get an insight into the working life of their father: they also get to learn a bout hospitality too. Ms Turner said the children had been roped in to helping her as well, exposing them to both the growing of food and the transformation into deliciousness. Her love of food and family involvement in growing it ensures there are plenty of conversations about growing the quality produce that people need. An indication that the move to Newdegate has been good for the family is the fact that their oldest child is intent on studying agricultural science and work as an agronomist when he leaves school. He has not been deterred from a life around farming. And with families like the Turner clan welcomed and embedded in the community, Newdegate is ensuring its own survival as a place where young people can flourish, and good food is grown.