DairyNZ chief executive Campbell Parker says the winners are all forward-thinking and contribute strongly to a positive future for New Zealand dairy farming.

“It’s fantastic to see the awards acknowledging top Kiwi dairy farmers and their hard work and dedication at the heart of their communities,” Campbell says.

“These farmers are future-proofing their businesses to remain resilient while continuing to produce sustainable and competitive milk.”

The Share Farmers of the Year are Will Hinton and Kali Rangiawha from Manawatū, and the Dairy Manager of the Year is Northland’s Kieran McCahon. Kirwyn Ellis from Waikato is the Dairy Trainee of the Year, and James and Debbie Stewart from Manawatū received the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award and the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

DairyNZ is an industry partner in the awards, providing judging expertise and facilitating field days. Contract milkers Paul and Sarah Koopal from Central Plateau received the DairyNZ People and Culture merit award and placed third in the Share Farmer category. Judges described them as well-rounded farmers, using all the tools and technology available to them.

Ben Purua was awarded the DairyNZ People and Leadership merit award in the Dairy Manager category. DairyNZ judge Janine Swansson says Ben is a leader of young people joining the sector, and makes a significant difference to communities and other people’s lives. He promotes dairy farming as a great place to work.

Isabella Panettiere from Manawatū took out the DairyNZ Practical Skills merit award for her strong practical skills and knowledge. She also placed third in the Dairy Trainee category. As herd manager for Fonterra’s Longburn farm, she is new to the sector and farming life. Head judge Mark Laurence from DairyNZ says Isabella’s enthusiasm, skills and knowledge are impressive.

As Share Farmers of the Year, Will and Kali impressed the judges with the strength of their partnership, and how they apply technical knowledge to be more efficient.

They are closely involved in their community. Will organised a fundraiser when a school bus was needed, and Kali trained as an AI technician when she realised there wasn’t one in their area.

2024 Share Farmers of the Year Will Hinton and Kali Rangiawha.

2024 Dairy Manager of the Year Kieran McCahon.

As Dairy Manager of the Year, Kieran McCahon from Northland stood out as an authentic and well-educated farmer, passionate about adding value to the sector. He took the judges on a journey into practical farming and how he has addressed challenges in his first season.

Kieran was a DairyNZ scholar, achieving his Master’s degree, and previously worked for DairyNZ as a developer before returning to his home in Northland.

Dairy Trainee of the Year Kirwyn Ellis is described as a strong team player and clear communicator, with community at his heart. Head judge Mark Laurence from DairyNZ says he will represent the sector very well with his new title.

Kirwyn is also a great role model for work life balance, with many hobbies including biking, rugby and other outdoor activities.

2024 Dairy Trainee of the Year Kirwyn Ellis.

2024 Fonterra Responsible Dairy Award - James and Debbie Stewart.

As Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award and John Wilson Memorial Trophy recipients, James and Debbie Stewart were selected for their commitment to people and community, finance, environment and animal care. The judges were left with one big question – ‘what more could anyone do to demonstrate responsible dairying’?

The judges including DairyNZ GM Farm Solutions and Policy Dr David Burger were impressed by the Stewarts’ understanding of the sector’s importance to New Zealand and the importance of building their own story and brand.

DairyNZ sees the awards as a great opportunity to continue supporting farmers to share their positive stories with the public, which has been building greater momentum over the past year.

Media contact
Ali Tocker
Senior media specialist
p: 027 364 7532
e: ali.tocker@dairynz.co.nz

Page last updated:

15 May 2024