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Sharemilker Finalists Hit The City

Sharemilker Finalists Hit The City

Harvesting the country's 'white gold' is all in a day's work for the 12 finalists in the New Zealand Sharemilker of the year competition.

There are more than 5000 sharemilkers in New Zealand and they harvest more than 40% of the country's 13 billion litres of milk produced annually.

The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition, run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc, recognises the best among this group.

Competition Chairman Greg Maughan says the sharemilking system is unique to New Zealand and enables a good flow of young people to move through the industry.

"Sharemilking has been a real strength to New Zealand's dairy industry's success. It provides a good lifestyle and enables young people to grow their farming business and position themselves to buy their own farm," Mr Maughan says.

"The New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition has become a 'must-enter' competition for those wanting to progress their dairy farming career. Those that do well receive opportunities to advance their career and the chance to meet and network with key players in the industry, like our finalists are having breakfast with Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden tomorrow."

National Convenor Chris Keeping says the final is being held in the Alumni Marquee, Old Government House Grounds, in Auckland on Saturday night .

The 12 finalists arrived in Auckland today to prepare for the final, where they compete for prizes worth more than $60,000.

"They really have little chance to relax as the final judging takes place on Saturday, where they will have their general knowledge and current affairs tested in an interview," Ms Keeping says.

The 12 finalists are:
* Auckland - Mitchell and Lyn Bragg
* Waikato - Malcolm and Rosalie Piggott
* Taranaki - Peter and Tanya Ford
* Hawkes Bay - Andrew and Alison Watters
* Central Plateau - James and Carolyn Houghton
* Bay of Plenty - Andrew and Jackie Siemelink
* Manawatu - Michael and Tracey Collis
* Southland - Matthew and Vanessa Richards
* Canterbury/North Otago - Brian and Judy Symes
* West Coast/Top of the South - Chris and Paula Riddle
* Otago - Peter and Virginia O'Neill
* Northland - Neville and Ainsley Porteous

After breakfast with Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden tomorrow, they will head to the Viaduct Basin, Sky City Casino and later in the day they will play a round of mini-golf.

About 400 people are expected to attend the awards evening.

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