Friday, 23 April 2021 12:25

Three weeks to go!

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
The 2021 Central Plateau winners. The 2021 Central Plateau winners.

The 33 finalists representing 11 regions in the 2021 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have been found.

The national winners will be announced at a black tie awards dinner at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton on Saturday May 15, after the finalists complete a final round of judging.

The finalists will compete for a total prize pool worth more than $200,000 and the honour of winning either the 2021 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2021 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2021 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.

NZDIA general manager Robin Congdon says the 33 finalists are the cream of the crop from all the entries received.

“It was fantastic to attend all 11 regional finals and feel the excitement of the wins and see the journey each finalist has taken, both professionally and personally,” says Congdon. 

“Our regional teams in Waikato, Central Plateau and Bay of Plenty showed adaptability delivering outstanding regional awards events despite being postponed. Bay of Plenty was a sell-out with just over 300 attending.”

He says although there is mix of gender, age, farming experience and career backgrounds amongst the finalists, over half of the Dairy Trainee national finalists are women and there are two solo women finalists in the Share Farmer of the Year category.

“It is very clear that the New Zealand dairy industry is in good health with passionate farmers, managers and trainees with positive attitudes leading the way,” he says.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, along with industry partner DairyNZ.

2021 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year finalists:

Northland                           Katrina Pearson, contract milker/equity partner, 460 cows, Purua

Auckland-Hauraki              Rachael Foy, contract milker, 750 cows, Huntly

Waikato                               Reuben & Deb Connolly, 50% sharemilkers/20% equity partners, 280 cows, Otorohanga

Bay of Plenty                      Aran & Sharleen Sealey, 30% equity partners, 420 cows, Galatea

Central Plateau                   Andrea & Blair Muggeridge, equity partners, 1080 cows, Reporoa

Taranaki                              John Wyatt, contract milker, 315 cows, Auroa

Manawatu                          Sam Howard, 50% sharemilker, 240 cows, Palmerston North

Hawkes Bay-Wairarapa     Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj, 50% sharemilkers, 745 cows, Eketahuna

West Coast-Top of the South Sian Madden & Mark Roberts, contract milkers & 20% share milkers, 1300 cows, Reefton

Canterbury-North Otago   Dinuka & Nadeeka Gamage, contract milkers, 980 cows, Ashburton

Southland-Otago                Scott & Ann Henderson, 25% LO sharemilkers, 850 cows, Milton

2021 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year Finalists

Northland                           Ravindra Maddage Don, farm manager, 354 cows, Whangarei

Auckland-Hauraki              Stephanie Walker, farm manager, 615 cows, Huntly

Waikato                               Christopher Gerard Vila, farm manager, 341 cows, Ohaupo

Bay of Plenty                      Hayden Goodall, farm manager, 700 cows, Matatā

Central Plateau                   Mark Rivers, farm manager, 400 cows, Atiamuri

Taranaki                              Diego Gomez, farm manager, 380 cows, Stratford

Manawatu                          Karl Wood, farm manager, 290 cows, Palmerston North

Hawkes Bay-Wairarapa     Leon McDonald, 2IC-assistant manager, 450 cows, Papatawa

West Coast-Top of the South Rachael Lind, farm manager, 1060 cows, Westport

Canterbury-North Otago   Maria Alvarez, farm manager, 660 cows, Ashburton

Southland-Otago                Gary Sunshine-Tervit, farm manager, 270 cows, Winto

2021 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year Finalists

Northland                           Bella Wati, farm assistant, 460 cow, Purua

Auckland-Hauraki              Emma Udell, farm assistant, 240 cows, Ngatea

Waikato                               Ruth Connolly, farm assistant, 800 cows, Ohaupo

Bay of Plenty                      Dayna Rowe, herd manager, 1000 cows, Pongakawa

Central Plateau                   Tayla Flight, farm manager, 220 cows, Atiamuri

Taranaki                              Sydney Porter, farm assistant, 320 cows, Hawera

Manawatū                          Josh Wilkinson, production manager, 500 cows, Foxton

Hawkes Bay-Wairarapa     Tony Craig, assistant manager, 400 cows, East Taratahi

West Coast-Top of the South Sam Smithers, farm assistant, 700 cows, Blackball

Canterbury-North Otago   Mattes Groenendijk, farm assistant, 950 cows, Rangiora

Southland-Otago                Sophie White, farm assistant, 1600 cows, Edendale

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DeLaval back as key sponsor

Entries for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) open October 1. Organisers say planning is well underway with national sponsors continuing to back the programme. DeLaval has renewed its sponsorship for the next three years.

Migrants proving their worth

A highlight of this year’s Dairy Industry Awards was the high number of migrant workers vying for the national titles.


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