Our Story

Groundswell NZ was founded in 2020 by two southern farmers who were frustrated with unworkable regulations. Now supported by a volunteer group of farmers and rural professionals, they've brought the issue of unworkable regulations into the mainstream, and represent an authentic rural voice.
August 2020
The Beginning
Groundswell co-founder, Bryce McKenzie, goes viral on Facebook with a post about unworkable regulations, including winter grazing, and first mentions the idea of a tractor protest.
October 2020
The First Protest
Supporters rally to fill Gore’s Main Street in protest of unworkable regulations on farmers, particularly the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
November 2020
First Petition
Groundswell NZ launches their first petition to demand change to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management as the government ignores the available practical solutions.
February 2021
First Public Meeting
Over 700 farmers attend a Groundswell NZ public meeting at Southern Field Days, as support for the movement grows.
Mid-April 2021
South Island Meetings
Concerned farmers flock to public meetings held in Oamaru, Ashburton, Amberly, Greymouth, and Fox Glacier about the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and Significant Natural Areas.
7 May 2021
Agriculture Sector Meeting
Groundswell NZ hosts the leaders of New Zealand’s agriculture sector, including Federated Farmers, Beef+Lamb, and DairyNZ, to discuss the major issues facing grassroots farmers and growers.
24 May 2021
Letter to Councils
Groundswell NZ wrote to all councils demanding they clearly state their position on Significant Natural Areas and pause Significant Natural Area mapping.
16 July 2021
Howl of a Protest
Groundswell NZ explodes across the country in nationwide protests against unworkable regulations, with tractors and utes filling town centres and putting the concerns of grassroots farmers and growers in the headlines of every newspaper in New Zealand.
21 November 2021
Mother of All Protests
After the Government failed to address the issues raised by Howl of a Protest, Groundswell NZ returned with the Mother of All Protests, drawing attention to unworkable regulations, adding Three Waters to the list.
25 November 2021
Write to Mr. O'Connor
Bryce and Laurie deliver 6,000 letters to Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor on the steps of Parliament, demanding the Government see reason on emissions pricing and the Ute Tax.
June 2022
Three Waters Public Meetings
After hosting a number of well-attended public meetings across the lower South Island, Groundswell NZ presented thousands of signatures calling on local councils to hold referenda on Three Waters and to withdraw from Local Government NZ.
17 November 2022
Stop the Farming Tax Petition
Bryce, Laurie, and the Groundswell NZ team hand deliver over 100,000 signatures on our petition to Stop the Farming Tax.
September-October 2023
Bryce and Laurie lead a group of tractors up the country from Invercargill to Auckland for the Drive4Change, raising awareness and mobilising voters for the general election.

Our Founders

Bryce McKenzie
Bryce has been a farmer his whole life, working as both a Sheep & Beef farmer and Dairy farmer. He is a founding member of the Pomahaka Water Care Group, a volunteer group to protect and improve the water quality of the Pomahaka River. Happily married with four children, Bryce spends his free time fly fishing. His concern for the younger generation and the pressures they face farming under unworkable regulations led him to establish Groundswell NZ in 2020.
Laurie Paterson
Laurie manages the day-to-day running of Waikaka Station, a multi-generational sheep and beef property in Southland, along with his son Ross and his wife Sharon. He was recognised as an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2017 for his services to the beef industry. Laurie shares Bryce's concern for the next generation of farmers and the challenges they face under unworkable regulations.