Rabobank Client Councils | Rabobank New Zealand
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The importance of client participation to Rabobank

Each Rabobank region across New Zealand serves their respective clients within a certain geographical area. Broader economic, social, environmental and cultural issues relevant to the local area of the region connect individuals and businesses. Rabobank aspires to be aware of the challenges its clients face and to be proactive, playing an important role in facilitating an active dialogue with key clients about issues relevant to them.

Client Council locations

A Client Council is a group of leading Rabobank clients who meet regularly to identify and discuss the challenges facing the agricultural sector and to develop initiatives that contribute to a sustainable food and agribusiness industry.

There are five Client Councils in New Zealand.

What is the purpose of Client Councils?

Client Council meetings provide a forum for clients to exchange ideas and identify issues of significance to them within the food and agribusiness industry. It also provides a platform for discussion of broader economic, social, environmental and cultural issues relevant to individuals and businesses in their local communities.

The client engagement model aims to:

- Receive customer feedback on the Bank’s services and act upon it;
- Create an active dialogue between the Bank and its customers;
- Strengthen customer relationships;
- Encourage customers’ influence on the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility agenda;
- Encourage community involvement and social cohesion;
- Identify local and national issues affecting agriculture and rural communities. Have an open discussion about viable solutions to address these issues, in cooperation with the Client Councils’ members and the local community.

The client engagement model aspires to promote Rabobank’s cooperatives values and community involvement. This will benefit Rabobank’s clients, the communities in which Rabobank is active and Rabobank’s relationships.

Through Client Councils, Rabobank aims to encourage community involvement and social cohesion, promote cooperative values and contribute to the sustainability of the industry and rural communities it serves.

Client Council Locations in New Zealand

For the latest update on initiatives from Rabobank Client Councils around New Zealand.

Read our latest newsletter

Client Council themes

Rabobank Sustainability

Long-term industry capacity

Attracting and retaining new people has always been an ongoing challenge for agriculture. We aim to create better awareness of the various career opportunities and exciting pathways available to the industry.

We also support young farmers with a range of workshops and mentoring initiatives designed to improve their skills in a number of areas to help them advance their agricultural careers.

Rabobank Sustainability


Environmental compliance, water availability, water quality, erosion and waste management are all important factors to keeping farms sustainable. Our goal is to identify the main issues and how we can support our clients.

We also provide a platform for our clients to share best practices.

Rabobank Rural / Urban Divide

Rural / Urban divide

There is often unbalanced communication causing misconceptions of farming practices impacting on farming’s reputation.

We aim to increase awareness of modern farming practices and food production with urban audiences by organising and supporting initiatives that bridge the rural / urban divide.

Rabobank Rural  Health

Rural health

Access to health care, denial of health issues and the need for early identification of mental health issues are some of the challenges faced by rural communities.

Together with our clients, we aim to increase awareness of the importance of farmers’ well-being.

Client Council initiatives

Food X Programme

First held in 2019, The Rabobank FoodX programme is attended by year 12 & 13 students from Canterbury High schools across the Canterbury region. Students on the programme are nominated by their school career adviser and are predominantly from schools which do not offer agriculture as part of the curriculum.

The programme, run in conjunction with Lincoln University and the New Zealand Young Farmers, exposes participants to animals, food production, food marketing, agribusiness and science and includes visits to a range of agribusiness operations.

Find out more

The Rabobank FoodX programme

Waikato Agri Leadership Programme

The Waikato Agri Leadership programme was developed in 2015 by the Waikato Client Council who felt more needed to be done to ensure school leavers were aware of the range of careers available in the sector.

The programme has now run annually since 2016 and is attended by year ~30 year 12-13 students from a range of Waikato, Auckland and Northland High Schools. Students are selected to take part in the programme based on their academic performance, leadership attributes and career aspirations.

The four day live in programme at Waikato University includes visits to a number of local farming operations and leading agricultural businesses as well as presentations from key NZ agribusiness leaders.

Find out more

Waikato Agri Leadership Programme

Ag Pathways

The Ag Pathways programme was developed in 2015 to upskill young people involved in the agri sector and has run annually in the years since.

More than 80 young farmers have now been involved in the programme which provides them with the opportunity to improve their skills in a number of areas as well as the opportunity to expand their networks and to mix with the established council members/farmers taking part.

The two day event includes a number of sessions facilitated by Rabobank and external subject matter experts. The sessions are split up into three key themes: Managing People, Managing Business and Managing Land.

Following attendance at the event, a number of the participants have significantly advanced their agricultural careers since attending the event including advancing family farm succession plans, leasing properties, starting farm contracting businesses and share milking businesses.

Rabobank Ag Pathways programme

Horowhenua Taste trail

As part of its efforts to tackle the urban /rural divide, the Lower North Island Client have been proud supporters of the Horowhenua Taste Trail since its inception. The Trail was first run in 2017 and is an annual adventure through Horowhenua’s specialist food producers.

The event celebrates the richness and diversity of all that is produced in the bite sized district. The Horowhenua Taste Trail provides attendees with the opportunity to get behind the scenes with a range of local food producers to learn more about their operations as well as the chance to sample delicious fresh produce.

Rabobank’s Lower North Island Client Council is proud to support the Horowhenua Taste Trail as the event provides a great opportunity for the public to learn more about food production.

Find out more

Horowhenua Taste trail

Big Day Out with Agri

The Central North Island Client Council Teachers Big Day Out initiative started in 2017 showcasing agriculture careers on-and off-farm to Rotorua secondary school Careers Advisors. The event was a huge success with all Careers Advisors rating the day 5/5. John Paul College career advisor Sheryl Hewitson commented “The day was the best educational day they have had showcasing agri careers”.

The day began with a short presentation and introductions at the Rabobank Rotorua office then on to a bus stopping at a dairy property, kiwifruit orchard, Comvita Honey, Balance Agri-Nutrients with the final stop being Zespri Head Office At each stop all career options were discussed to give Careers Advisors first hand examples of the opportunities on offer.

Since the initial event several secondary students have been in contact with industry participants and have gone on to further study in the sciences that will open potential opportunities within the agriculture space.

Teachers Big Day Out