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Lifetime's Work In Farm And Community Recognised

Media Release
17 April 2003


Edgecumbe identity Jack Gow was recognised last night for his service to the community and to the farmers of the Eastern Bay of Plenty district.

Mr Gow received a Holden Lifetime Achievement Award during the Bay of Plenty/South Waikato regional final of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is a new initiative of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards, which aim to recognise excellence in the dairy industry.

The award is open to anyone in or servicing the dairy sector and seeks to recognise contribution to the dairy industry both regionally and nationwide.

Edgecumbe dairy farmer and former Bay Milk director Stuart McHardy says Mr Gow had three distinct areas of work in the district.

He was involved for 27 years in local body politics, starting as a Councillor for the Whakatane County.

"He was one of the Councillors who was instrumental in merging the County to the Borough to form the Whakatane District Council, of which Jack served as Mayor for six years."

Mr Gow was also an initial member of the Bay of Plenty Catchment Commission, a predecessor to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

"During his time Jack was involved in the river and flood control schemes that have led to the Rangitaiki Plains being the productive dairy and horticulture area that it is today."

Mr McHardy says his second area of work was in the dairy industry. Mr Gow had started dairy farming at Edgecumbe in 1940 and today employs a 50:50 sharemilker on his property.

"He was one of the initial farmers along with the late Laurie Friis who saw the need to have a co-operative fertiliser company in the Bay and was a key figure behind the Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-operative."

Mr Gow was a director of the co-operative from 1967 to 1994 and was its Chairman from 1981 to 1994.

"It was under his chairmanship that there was a real growth phase for the company with the purchase of the urea plant, Petrochem Limited.

"Jack has had a big involvement in the fertiliser industry, which has been immensely valuable to all dairy farmers in this area and probably to those in the top half of the North Island," Mr McHardy says.

Mr Gow didn't escape dairy industry politics, and during a troubled time for the Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Company he was asked to become a director and help steer the company on its way.

Mr McHardy says his third area of service involved the local community. He was active in Rotary, receiving a Paul Harris Fellow, and also involved in the local church and hospital board.

He was awarded the Queens Service Order for services to the community in 1982.

"Jack has been a mentor through this time for quite a few other successful dairy farmers. He commands respect and still takes a keen interest in dairy farming matters, with his views widely received."

In his nomination it was written: "Jack has never carried a banner for things other than the general well being and improvement of the communities of our area and he has consistently achieved a quiet and high level of success."

The Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards are being run in seven regions and have the support of Dexcel. Holden New Zealand, Ravensdown, DTS, Livestock Improvement, Pioneer, RD1 and Fegan and Co sponsor the awards. Fonterra and Westpac are the principal sponsors.


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