For 23 years, Maree McManaway helped run the family dairy farm in Dalefield alongside husband Mark.

But for the past 11 years, she has helped those in our community as a life coach.

McManaway has launched her second self-help book, Mind Fit Farmer.

It comes after her last book, The Mind Mechanic, with the car serving as a metaphor for self-improvement and care.

“They say depression is caused by an inability to see a future,” she said.

“It’s my job to help people create a future that they haven’t been able to see before.”

The book included excerpts and experiences from her own life.

“I’ve been there, I’ve got the dirty gumboots to show for it,” she said.

The young family’s first foray into the farming world, came when they went sharemilking.

McManaway was expecting her first child just as the cows started calving and they had their first farming challenge when the Dalefield Milk Factory closed suddenly.

“We had no backup money for the winter,” she said.

“It was really, really hard. We got very used to seeing OD [overdraft] on our bank details.”

They got through it though.

“It’s about getting yourself in control and managing the internal stresses first,” she said.

She said many farmers were introverted by nature which made it difficult for them to reach out for help.

“That’s one of the big barriers we have in trying to help the rural community.”

It’s improved in recent years though, Her clientele is more gender balanced and she has several farmers as clients now.

She was working with several rural businesses to get the Mind Fit Farmer available in stores so that farmers could pick it up when grabbing other supplies.

“They are both self-help books designed so that anyone can pick them up,” she said.

“I imagine farmers being busy – they can pick it up at any point and get a spark of support.”

The book is available for $25 at Hedleys Booksellers in Masterton, or online at

Where to get help locally

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or mental health provider.

However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.

For Wairarapa mental health services, phone 0508 432 432.

Free Helplines, online and text support:

TE HAIKA: 0800 745 477

NEED TO TALK? call or text 1737


LIFELINE: 0800 543 354

SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666

YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234

KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 [under 18yo]

WHAT’S UP: 0800 942 8787 [for 5–18yo].


HEALTHLINE: 0800 611 116

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202

OUTLINE NZ: 0800 688 5463, sexuality/gender identity THELOWDOWN.CO.NZ – or free text 5626