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Mackenzie District pitches rural life to young city-dwellers

With a growing shortage of workers, the Mackenzie District is taking a fresh approach to powering the region - targeting young people in cities with a brand-new campaign that will sell the benefits of living in the country.

Think Rural is launching nationwide, with eighteen rural districts signed up to the campaign. Their goal is to contribute towards filling 1,150 jobs in rural areas with young people wanting to experience a new way of life. The campaign is driven by LGNZ’s Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ), with support from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

MTFJ supported Joe Brien, of MJ Donnelly, Fairlie.

MTFJ supported Joe Brien, of MJ Donnelly, Fairlie.

Noa Woolloff, National Programme Manager of MTFJ, is 23 and passionate about getting young people into jobs that give them a new lease on life.

“Young people often think about going overseas to have new experiences, but with the borders closed, we’re highlighting the incredible things New Zealand has to offer – right on their back doorstep. They say the grass is greener, but in this case it actually is. Think Rural will showcase what these towns have to offer – from welcoming communities to interesting jobs and outdoor adventures,” he says.

The rural councils getting behind the Think Rural scheme in the hope of drawing a younger crowd are Ōpōtiki, Ōtorohanga, Central Hawke’s Bay, Chatham Islands, Gore, Ruapehu, Waimate, Westland, Wairoa, Hurunui, Tararua, Grey, Rangitikei, Clutha, Hauraki, Mackenzie and Buller.

Each rural district has a chance to receive funding support of up to $500,000 to aid their efforts to support youth and COVID displaced workers into sustainable long-term employment.

Wannabe rural-dwellers can find the right community for them at The site provides information about each participating local district, and directs people to available jobs.

For further information, please contact Leaine Rush, MTFJ coordinator -, or LGNZ Media/Public Affairs Manager Sean Gillespie on 021 914 464 or email

Mackenzie District MTFJ success stories