Coronavirus: New rural magazine bucks trend of media closures amid COVID-19

Uncertainty created from the COVID-19 pandemic has failed to dampen the launch of a new magazine which tells stories of rural New Zealand women.

Shepherdess is a new quarterly magazine which aims to "connect, empower and inspire".

Magazine founder and editor, Manawatu's Kristy McGregor, said the concept was based on the Australian magazine Graziher.

"That magazine really captures life for rural women in rural and remote Australia.

"When I moved to New Zealand in 2014 I felt there was something possibly missing in that media space here and thought there was an opportunity to do something," said McGregor.

"Through some conversations with Claire Dunne, we starting working on a magazine for rural New Zealand women."

Shepherdess is a new quarterly magazine which aims to "connect, empower and inspire".
Shepherdess is a new quarterly magazine which aims to "connect, empower and inspire". Photo credit: Supplied

The new magazine comes at a time when some of New Zealand's biggest magazines have folded after Bauer Media NZ announced it was closing its doors due to the fallout of COVID-19.

However McGregor was confident there remained a place for magazines like Shepherdess.

"There is something really special about picking a magazine up and sitting down for a read, and spending time for yourself, it's very tangible."

She believed there was room for both digital media and magazines.

"Yes we are going digital, at the moment we are forced to and that is definitely the way of the future as well, but alongside that is having something more boutique or curated rather than the scream of media that comes at you online or through social media.

"There is something still quite special about that."

Design had been crucial in getting the correct look and feel of the magazine, said McGregor, with many hours of refinements put in by designer Sarah-Jayne Shine. 

"Something we have had at the forefront is really beautiful design work, storytelling and photography."

The magazine's launch coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and McGregor said it was appropriate to change the plan.

"So we postponed the physical launch and had a virtual launch - with 300 women around the country."

Despite the challenging time, the magazine had been well-received. 

"Being able to put your head into something that is positively focused and read about women who are just like you, it's about real women, which is really important."