MPs and farmers go head-to-head in John Luxton Memorial Match
Dairy farmers, sector leaders, MPs and parliamentary staff will be battling it out on the sports fields of Morrinsville this Saturday, September 24.
The rugby and netball matches are a memorial for the late Hon John Luxton, the inaugural DairyNZ chair and former Agriculture Minister, and they’re shaping up to be entertaining and competitive encounters.
“DairyNZ is organising the free community event on behalf of the dairy sector to bring the community together to celebrate John’s life, showcase the strength of the sector, and help forge strong relationships between the competitors,” says DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle.
The event is also raising money for the John Luxton Trust, which aims to support young Māori from the local area into agricultural careers. The Luxton Family will be well represented in the match, with John’s son Richard and grandchildren joining the dairy teams.
“John was a true leader of the New Zealand dairy sector, his contribution to progression and innovation in the sector was significant. John was a well-respected farmer, founding chair of DairyNZ, chair of Tatua Dairy Company and co-chair of the Waikato River Authority,” says Dr Mackle.
The event has great support across the sector, with an impressive line-up of personalities set to play.
In the Parliamentary teams, a strong contingent of MPs includes Mark Mitchell, Michael Woodhouse, Greg O’Connor, Meka Whaitiri, Barbara Kuriger, Louise Upston, Nicole McKee and plenty of others. They’ve also called in a reinforcement – former All Black Piri Weepu.
In the dairy sector rugby team, Southland farmer Tangaroa Walker is flying up to pull on the number 8 jersey – Tangaroa runs his own Farm4Life programme with how-to information for people starting out in dairy farming. Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award winner Quinn Morgan will be playing mid-field – he takes an active role in encouraging other young people to join the sector.
“We’ve got a full front row from Federated Farmers – president Andrew Hoggard, vice-president Wayne Langford and dairy chair Richard McIntyre – and I’ll be pulling on my boots to play on the wing,” says Dr Mackle.
“For the netball, we have a really strong sector team including radio personality Rowena Duncum, Dairy Environment Leaders chair Melissa Slattery and Pouarua Farms chief executive Jenna Smith.”
A key goal of the event is to attract young people to work in the sector, and there’s a great cohort of Young Farmers playing in the rugby and netball teams. The event dovetails with DairyNZ’s drive to showcase the many positives of working in dairy.
“The Memorial Match is shaping up to be a great family-friendly day, so I really encourage the community to get behind it and support the teams on the day,” says Dr Mackle.
Where: Campbell Park, Morrinsville
When: Saturday, September 24: netball 1.30pm, rugby 3pm