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Kapuni workmates take on NZDIA challenge

Neil Hunter (left), Sam Hughson (middle) and Tim Bonner (right)

Kapuni workmates take on NZDIA challenge

Two Kapuni workmates look set to go head-to-head in Taranaki’s longest-running dairying competition.

Neil Hunter, 22, and Tim Bonner, 23, are farm assistants on Steve and Maria Poole’s 810-cow dairy farm on Skeet Road.

They’ve entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and will both be vying to take out the title of 2017 Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“I was keen to follow in the footsteps of my boss, Sam Hughson, who won the title earlier this year,” Mr Hunter said.

Neil Hunter grew up in Fiji. He lived in Auckland for more than four years before deciding to give dairying a go.

“There are endless opportunities in the dairy industry and entering the Dairy Industry Awards will look good on my CV,” he said.

“I’d like to be contract milking within five years and a herd owner within a decade.”

His colleague Tim Bonner became hooked on the Dairy Industry Awards after entering the Manawatu competition last year.

“It was a great experience and helped me to focus my goals. I learnt a lot,” Mr Bonner said.

“I came third and took out the practical skills and farming knowledge merit awards, which was awesome.”

“This time I’m striving to do better,” he laughed.

Sam Hughson, 20, has worked for the Pooles on their 210ha (effective) farm since leaving school and was promoted to manager in June.

“The competition helps entrants advance their careers,” Mr Hughson said.

“My advice to all trainees and farm assistants is that if they want to progress, challenge themselves and meet new people, then they should enter.”

“There’s an impressive prize pool up for grabs, plus it’s the 40th anniversary of the awards. What have you got to lose?”

Entries for the Dairy Industry Awards close on November 30th.


There are three categories for the Dairy Industry Awards:

· Share Farmer of the Year

· Dairy Manager of the Year

· Dairy Trainee of the Year

People can enter online at

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Honda, LIC, Meridian Energy, Fonterra Farm Source and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO.

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