Rural experience and desire to help


From Auckland to the Catlins seems like a difficult choice to make for some but for Matthew Tarbotton it was a golden opportunity to continue his love of helping others and build on his passion for working on the land.

Forsaking the balmy weather of southeastern Auckland for the snow and ice of the Catlins, Mr Tarbotton has brought his young family south to assume the role of the new minister at the Owaka Grace Fellowship church.

For the past 10 years the small community›based church has coped without a resident minister, but now Mr Tarbotton has stepped up to take on the position.

He is no stranger to the South, or hard work, as he grew up on farms in the Mid-Canterbury region.

“It’s great to be back here in the South. My wife, Abigail, and our two young children are really loving the community here despite the fact it’s rained, snowed and blown ever since we arrived,” Mr Tarbotton said

The former farm manager said he believed God had called him to take on a leading role in the church.

“I love working on the land, with the sheep and cattle, but I also love helping others in any way I can.’’

It was that desire to care for others that ultimately pushed him towards accepting the position.

“I wanted to serve the church and the community and because I am from the land I feel I can understand the troubles people are having,” Mr Tarbotton said.

“I am hoping I can help grow the church here in the Owaka community and we are keen to stay here for the long haul.”