Steve Thomson – a good shepherd in more ways than one

steve thomson

Steve Thomson has been a sheep and beef farmer in the eastern Wairarapa. He is also an Anglican priest.

A recent episode of TVNZ’s Country Calendar took a look at his life.

Thomson is the parish priest in Tinui. The parish covers a large geographical area stretching from Riversdale Beach, Homewood Road to Whareama and across to Tinui and Castlepoint.

He divides his time between weddings and funerals, Rural Support Trust work and the farm.

He was working as a stock manager in Tinui when he met and later married Jenne Groves.

She is the 4th generation at the 1090-hectare sheep and beef farm named Bush Grove.

Jenne says it was meeting Steve that led to her being the one to take over the family farm in 1984.

They hit tough times when a change in government led to cuts in farm subsidies and interest rates went through the roof.

The 1988 drought was the last straw for Steve. He developed acute depression.

“For six months or so I had no idea I was dealing with depression, but things started coming right almost as soon as I sought help,” he said.

Jenne and Steve had been only occasional churchgoers but now found great solace in God.

“We both needed God,” Jenne says. “It seemed to be the right time for us to come back to our faith.”

He was ordained a priest in 2001.

Steve wanted to support other local farmers in similar trouble.

“I just started helping people, and I decided not to worry about myself. If God wanted me in this particular position on this farm with a rural crisis on, then he’d keep me here.”

“And I would make myself available to share what I’d learned with other members of the community.”

Click here to view this episode of Country Calendar

If you need help for depression you can:

  • Talk to your GP
  • Contact your local DHB mental health team
  • Call the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757
  • Contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254

For more about the Rural Support Trust, visit:

For more about depression, visit:





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News category: New Zealand.

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