Research interests are in rural change/innovation, dark sky places and land use/conservation, rural autobiography and animal welfare, with a strong interest in sociological methodology. Current research concerns perceptions of animal welfare and farming in New Zealand. An interest in rural issues was developed through projects which focused on how people learn about innovation and work with the natural environment. One highlight was working in a bicultural team with owners of Maori land who were developing their land to increase employment within their families. Another was working on a survey of attitudes to animal welfare among people who work with animals on farms and members of the public. My curiosity about the elements of New Zealand's culture that shaped people's varied answers to this questionnaire led to analysis of accounts of their relationship with animals people have provided in farming stories and autobiographies.