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Contribution to dairy industry recognised

Contribution to dairy industry recognised

One of the key figures behind the consolidation of New Zealand's dairy industry was recognised last night for his contribution to the dairying business.

John Roadley received a Holden Lifetime Achievement Award in Christchurch last night during the Northern South Island awards function 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.

Mr Roadley was one of the key personalities in the formation of Fonterra, which arose out of the merger between Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, New Zealand Dairy Group, and New Zealand Dairy Board. He was also a key figure in earlier consolidations involving the South Island Dairy Co and New Zealand Dairy Group.

He was Chairman of the New Zealand Dairy Board in 2001 during the merger process, and became Chairman of the Fonterra Co-operative Group in its first year of operation.

Mr Roadley stepped down from that role in September last year, having achieved the main goals he set as part of the mega-merger.

"I set myself three goals - to ensure our shareholders agreed to the merger, to see the co-operative through the risky transitional first year, to achieve consensus among the board and management on Fonterra's future business strategy," he said when stepping down.

Mr Roadley, when leaving Fonterra, said the main merger challenges were behind the company, and the foundations had been laid for dairy farmer shareholders of Fonterra to be among the most respected group of farmers in the world.

His association with dairy farming began in 1980, when he purchased a 149ha property near Ashburton. Through growth and acquisitions over more than 20 years, Roadley Farms now consists of close to 1000 hectares split into three farms with 2200 cows.

Mr Roadley's first directorship was with Alpine Dairy Products in 1988, and he was instrumental in leading that company's successful merger with the Southland Dairy Co-operative to form the South Island Dairy Company.

It was when he chaired Alpine that a small grouping of dairy companies formed and identified that the industry's future lay in one fully integrated company. The Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards are being run in seven regions and have the support of Dexcel. Fonterra, Westpac, Holden New Zealand, Ravensdown, DTS, Livestock Improvement, Pioneer, RD1 and Fegan and Co sponsor the awards. Awards Chairman and Fonterra Director Jim van der Poel says the awards aim to assist Fonterra's 17,000-farmer supply base to maintain their on-farm efficiencies and position as the world's most cost-effective milk producers in the world.

"This underpins our ability to prosper in the global market," he says.

Westpac General Manager Business Banking Bruce McLachlan says another aim of the awards is to profile dairy industry excellence and promote information exchange, through benchmarking and best practice.

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