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Three finalists announced for dairy women’s leader award

Three finalists announced for dairy women’s community leadership award

The Dairy Women’s Network has announced the names of three dairy farming women who have been selected as finalists for its annual Dairy Community Leadership Award.

They are: Chris Paterson from Rotorua, and Megan McCracken and Ann Kearney both from Kerikeri.

The Dairy Community Leadership Award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women play in leading their communities by sharing their time and skills beyond the boundaries of their own farm gates.

DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers said all three finalists are incredibly selfless people, going above and beyond for the benefit of their communities and, in many cases, the wider dairy industry.

“None of these women seek the spotlight, but through their actions they have captured the attention of their colleagues and stand out as pillars of their communities. They don’t go the extra mile for recognition or reward; they do it because they are passionate about the industry and doing whatever they can to help other people,” said de Villiers.

Rotorua dairy farmer Chris Paterson is on several committees and associations around the Bay of Plenty, including the Federated Farmers. She is also the secretary of the Rotorua Lakes Primary Producers Collective, the chairperson of the Kaharoa Community Association, and an active member of both Lions and Rural Women in which she cares for elderly members in the region. She is an active member of the DWN, and supports DairyNZ events hosting fieldays at her farm.

In particular Chris is passionate about nurturing and mentoring young people new to dairy farming by welcoming them into her family, showing leadership and providing opportunities for their professional development.

Chris’ nominator said, “Chris is the most committed and hard working person who totally understates what she does. She would say ‘it’s just what everyone does’, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone else in the community that contributes so much.”

Bridging the gap between her rural and urban neighbours is a passion for Northland dairy farmer Ann Kearney. Ann works alongside a number of groups outside the industry to share good practices and demonstrate that dairy farming is an environmentally proactive industry that can be sustainable.

She works with the local ‘Living Waters’ group, and has been a leader in the farming community with her passion for fencing off and planting and maintaining farm waterways. She has also entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards this year.

Ann’s nominator said, “Ann’s integrity is demonstrated as she stands by her on-farm practices in a very public way for her dairy and urban counterparts alike. She leads by example and makes waterways a number one priority on her farm. She works alongside other groups which benefits other dairy farmers as our urban neighbours are able to gain a better understanding of how farming works and what farmers are doing to create a sustainable future.”

Juggling a farming directorship, calving responsibilities and work for the local veterinary clinic alongside supporting her children’s schooling, and contributing to the local DWN membership chapter, Kerikeri’s Megan McCracken is the third and final finalist for the award.

Megan was nominated for going the extra mile for Northland’s dairy farming community as a driving force behind growing membership numbers for the DWN in the region. She has initiated innovative new ideas for events in an effort to increase participation from dairying farming women, which resulted in an increase in attendance numbers.

Her nominator said, “Megan is somebody who does not just provide lip service to the values of the DWN, but lives them by her actions. She is a quiet achiever who has given a huge amount of her time and organisational expertise to the DWN at both a regional and national level. ”

The winner of the award will receive a $2,500 scholarship from calf rearing equipment specialists Milk Bar, to attend a leadership programme of their choice within New Zealand.

The 2014 winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference on 19 March in Hamilton.


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