Cotter happy in ‘people-focused’ role

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Cancer Society support care officer Cathie Cotter is familiar with rural living – being a dairy farmer and working for the Dairy Women’s Network (not to mention her nursing background) has equipped her well for the role.

Mrs Cotter worked part-time covering Eastern Southland and also worked in Invercargill.

Mrs Cotter, who owns a dairy support property at Dacre with her husband Phil, is relatively new to the Cancer Society role. She began in late May.

“My husband and I are farmers, dairy initially, now dairy support and also operate a rock quarry extracting all types of agricultural rock from soft brown for lanes to blue metal for tanker loops.

“Although I can operate a loader and digger, I prefer to leave the big sandpit toys for the lads as I much prefer to be in direct contact with people. I did spend six months back in the family business and between the dog on the veranda, the cat and a husband on speed dial (after he rang me 23 times in a day), I just knew I needed to go back into a people-focused role,” Mrs Cotter said.

She is also a trustee for the Southland Rural Support Trust. It is a voluntary role, but being able to give back to the rural community fed her soul, she said.

“I have also been contracted by MPI in the welfare space, firstly with the people of Stewart Island with the wind up of the oyster farms with the outbreak of Bonamia ostreae and more recently with the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak and the heartbreak this is bringing to our farmers.”

As a registered nurse, Mrs Cotter worked in emergency medicine in places such as London, Tauranga, Southland and Kalgoorlie, in Australia.

“I most recently spent time within the oncology unit at Kew [Southland] hospital before heading out of the health sector to work within the dairy industry for over five years with Dairy Women’s Network, helping women run events around education and leadership throughout the South Island.”