Friday, December 8, 2023

Rural recognition lacking

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Agriculture barely rated a mention in the New Year Honours, with only one farmer recognised.
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Waikato dairy farmer Tony Wilding was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the dairy industry and the community.

Wilding was a director of NZ Dairy Group for 14 years and of the NZ Dairy Board for six years. 

He played a key role in the establishment of Fonterra and was a director of the Dairy Research Institute. He is chairman of the Federated Farmers Sharemilker Farm Owners Group, actively encouraging farmers to support their sharemilkers through difficult times and providing mediation in sharemilking disputes. 

Chairman of the Agricultural Industry Training Organisation for nine years, Wilding has mentored young people in the dairy sector and promoted agricultural education.

Also recognised for services to the dairy industry, along with services to analytical chemistry, was Harvey Indyk, who was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit.

During his career with the NZ Co-operative Dairy Company, NZMP, and Fonterra, Indyk developed, applied and validated a wide range of analytical tools that have supported the growth of infant formula manufacturing and vitamin supplemented milk products within the NZ dairy industry. 

He created a number of international standard methods used to assess the safety and nutritional quality of dairy products.

Recognised for services to food technology and the food industry was Mike Matthews, who was made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit.

A graduate of Massey University, Matthews earned his PhD in the United States, conducting research in the use of membrane filtration to extract protein, a technology that today contributes $1 billion a year to the NZ dairy industry. 

At the Dairy Research Institute he contributed to the development of protein-enriched whey products that are now in strong demand in markets such as Japan. 

His career has included management roles in product development, engineering and marketing, culminating as chief executive of Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company from 1995 to 2008. 

Matthews was a member of the Prime Minister’s Science and Innovation Advisory Council, the Fast Forward board, and the board of Food Industry Enabling Technologies. 

As a consultant, he assisted the formation of the Food Innovation Network and advised several projects funded by the Primary Growth Partnership.

David Wright was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to biodynamic agriculture.

Wright, who was secretary of the Bio Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association (Biodynamics NZ) for 27 years, also served on the board of BioGro NZ between 1995 and 2015 and was a board member of Organics Aotearoa NZ from its founding in 2005 until 2011. 

He was a member of the team that developed the NZ organic production minimum standard for defining the term “organic” in the early 2000s.

Paul Wright was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the forestry industry and Fire and Emergency NZ.

Wright has worked in the forestry industry for more than 40 years in a variety of senior management and operational roles throughout NZ, Australia and Fiji, including as principal of the Fiji Forestry Training Centre.

He was principal rural fire officer of Pumicelands Rural Fire District from 2007 to 2017 and was chief executive from 2015 to 2017.

Wright has been principal rural fire officer for FENZ since 2017.

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