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  • Published: 15 January 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143775881
  • Imprint: Penguin NZ Audio Adult
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 7 hr 29 min
  • Narrator: Duncan Smith
  • RRP: $35.00

The Resilient Farmer

The story of how one man weathered years of drought and desperation to turn his farm - and his life - around.

Every day I watch my farm burn. Day after day, the sky is a relentless, empty blue. As our land dries up, all my hopes have turned to vapour, lost in that wide, blue yonder.

And so begins Doug Avery’s story of emotional resilience in the face of what at times seemed a hopeless situation.

The South Island farmer suffered terribly during eight years of drought. His farm was depleted and so was he, to the point of severe depression.

The Resilient Farmer is Doug’s powerful example of how to get life back on track. With candour and wisdom, he tells his story of turning desperation into determination, embracing risk, navigating change and, on top of everything, enduring monumental earthquakes.

An inspiring tale of how one man overcame heartbreaking adversity to live a fruitful life and help others.


  • Published: 15 January 2021
  • ISBN: 9780143775881
  • Imprint: Penguin NZ Audio Adult
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 7 hr 29 min
  • Narrator: Duncan Smith
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Doug Avery

Doug Avery is director of Bonavaree Farm in Grassmere, South Marlborough. The 2400-hectare farm has been owned by the Avery family since 1919. The Averys won the 2010 ‘South Island Farmer of the Year’ for their work adapting farm-management systems in response to increasingly dry conditions. Doug was also Chairman of the Starborough/Flaxbourne Soil Conservation Group working with NZ Landcare Trust, an initiative whose innovative work has attracted both national and international attention.

Praise for The Resilient Farmer

Compelling, fascinating reading.

Yvonne O'Hara, Southern Rural Life

[Despite] great personal adversity, Doug lived to tell the tale, turning his life around to help others.

Jamie Mackay, The Country

Doug Avery has written a book about his life on the land, his struggles with drought, earthquakes and depression and the recovery that has made him the epitome of the resilient farmer. Not surprisingly to those who know Avery, it is a tearjerker.

Jon Morgan, Taranaki Daily News

The Resilient Farmer ... encourages others to acknowledge and share the mental challenges of the unpredictable rural sector. It’s an inspiring read on many levels.


An inspiring journey and one that will resonate with many people from all backgrounds.

Jo Taylor, Latitude

To be resilient and survive, as the book’s title has it, you have to be tough and able to handle [many] challenges. Doug Avery has those qualities but also a gift for identifying and voicing the struggles his fellow farmers face.

Paul Little, North & South

Doug's story of how he turned his Marlborough farm and his life around is powerful and inspiring.

Judene Edgar, Nelson Weekly

It seems, by switching distress with determination and pain with power, Avery's book enthuses an inspirational, thought-provoking navigation of how the lock of an ever-changing nature reshapes, but how the main key to the engine is to understand and work with the human brain.

M2 Magazine

Doug Avery's [story] offers invaluable understanding, empathy, depth, recognition and hope for rural and urban people alike who feel the shadow of depression clouding their sky.

Veerle Poels, Psychology Aotearoa

Discover more

Doug Avery's resilience pipeline

Those six things are my positive answer – my recipe for a happy life.

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