About Doug Avery

“We have transformed Bonavaree to a place of huge success, economically and environmentally. With the right support, other farmers can do the same.”

Doug talks at

Doug talks at "Platinum Primary Producers" conference.

 Twenty years ago, I had a destroyed farm, a destroyed bank account and destroyed hopes. I couldn’t afford to move, so I decided to make good of what I had. That was how my journey began.
Seven years ago, Bonavaree was smashed by 225km/h winds. Then weeks later, earthquakes. The epicenter of the big one was 2.5km away. In 2016 the Kaikoura earthquake ripped the farm to bits again, moving the entire farm 5 meters north and lifting it 2 meters

In the face of all that, today, we’re better off than ever. In 1998, Bonavaree turned over $320,000. In 2014, that’s risen to $3 million (the farm size has also grown). The property is a leader in environmental thinking and it has a sound social base to build into the future.

I have learned that as a farmer, you need to be sustainable across three pillars — financial, environmental and social. Around each pillar, you need to build resilience, by accessing integrated knowledge and support. It’s not about business as usual with a few concessions. It’s a whole new road.

Too often, the social pillar is ignored. Yet, in New Zealand, we are twice as likely to die from our own hand as in a motor accident. Men are three times more likely to die than women, and rural men are twice as likely again. Below the tragedy of suicide is a huge pyramid of depression. This is something we all have to work together to address.

A few years ago, I started visiting farms and communities to share my story. I soon realized there were hundreds of farmers like me, with their own journey to make. And to make that journey, they need access to integrated knowledge and support. To facilitate this, I have created 'Resilient Farmer'.

— Doug Avery

About Resilient Farmer

Doug Avery’s Resilient Farmer will play a key role in ensuring farmers and their communities are ready for tomorrow’s challenges.

When our farm faced huge challenges, I sought comprehensive help across a wide range of areas within our business. The first four years were hard – the hardest time of my life – as we invested and learned new ways of doing things. I would never have got through it if I had not had a dedicated team supporting us.

Today I celebrate that time as being fundamental in the huge reward we have received and still receive.

Resilient Farmer is all about bringing together high performing companies, who understand about these sort of journeys, to work collaboratively with farmers to help introduce new tools in the office and out on the farm to grow wealth and well-being.

I invite you to join us in a supported journey of change with a team that has walked the walk.

The 3 Pillars

Doug Avery’s Resilient Farmer aims to deliver powerful support to New Zealand farmers across the three pillars — financial, environmental and social.

The key pillars to sustainable, resilient farming.

The key pillars to sustainable, resilient farming.

Doug Avery’s Resilient Farmer aims to deliver powerful support to New Zealand farmers across the three pillars — financial, environmental and social. Through road shows and ongoing mentoring, we will help farmers to adopt new thinking and practices. Over time, this comprehensive shift will build resilience, transform farm performance and help tackle the pyramid of depression.


  • Share advice on farm growth and financial management, including detail on Bonavaree practices and resources from financial partners
  • Encourage participation in learning and growth programmes 
  • Share expertise on feed budgeting, pasture planning, feasibility, stock numbers, forecasting, profitability and more 
  • Share latest knowledge on software tools for all the above 
  • Share advice on seed selection and companion planting to maximise land use


  • Share the ‘Social License to Farm’ concept, to lift environmental awareness
  • Provide contacts and inroads to environmental projects 
  • Connect farmers to local nurseries 
  • Inform on erosion control, shade, windbreaks 
  • Support positive engagement with local authorities


  • Provide material to help farmers manage their own emotional resilience
  • Encourage relationship building in business and the concept of ‘playing the long game’
  • Cut off the feeder to the huge pyramid of depression and suicide
  • Share connections to other web sites and help agencies
  • Mentor on an ongoing basis via email
  • Offer partner programmes such as ‘Coach Approach’ 
and succession planning