Two leaders in the dairy industry have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours.
Hamilton-based Dr Brian Wickham, who pioneered the use of world-leading animal genetic and breeding evaluation systems to enhance New Zealand’s dairy industry, was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the dairy industry and statistical genetics.
Colin Jones, of Auckland, has been involved in the dairy industry for more than 50 years and helped shape New Zealand as a leader in dairy exports. He was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the dairy industry.
Wickham studied agricultural science at Massey University in 1966, later completing a PhD at Cornell University in New York.
For 22 years he worked for the Livestock Improvement Corporation, holding several roles including statistician geneticist, information resource manager, research manager and deputy general manager. During his tenure, he led the implementation of New Zealand’s National Dairy Herd Improvement Database, widely regarded as underpinning productivity advancement in the dairy industry.
He was acting secretary-general of the International Committee for Animal Recording in 2014/2015, playing a pivotal role in promoting the genetic improvement of dairy cattle on a global scale. As chief executive of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation from 1998 to 2012, Wickham stabilised Ireland’s cattle breeding programme by collating data from diverse sources to create a world-class genetic evaluation system, taking Ireland to the forefront of animal genetic improvement on the international stage.
Jones led sales and negotiations globally between 1971 and 2000 on behalf of New Zealand farmers to establish channels for NZ dairy products.
In the role of Technical Specialist of Milk Powder with the NZ Dairy Board, he marketed NZ milk products as a guest speaker in Taiwan in 1986, leading to the formation of joint venture company New Tai.
His sales acumen has been significant in enabling Fonterra to operate in 140 markets globally. He played a key role in building international relationships for the NZ dairy industry, including with China, currently the biggest importer of NZ dairy products, as well as Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela.
He supported the establishment in 2010 of Miraka, a dairy processor based in Taupō and led by a group of Māori trusts and incorporations. He founded Global Dairy Network Ltd in 2007, an international dairy sales and marketing enterprise that helps link dairy product manufacturers with users of processed milk products.