What a month of highs and lows!

Our deputy editor and Waikato journalist Sheryl Brown summed it up very well after the Christchurch terror attacks when she Tweeted “I’m mid-interviews for @NZDairyAwards and many winners I’m interviewing have come to NZ for better lives. The words of one winner last week keeps echoing in my mind after #ChristchurchMosqueShootings that “NZ has been built on immigration”.

For this year’s Dairy Industry Awards, eligibility was opened up to dairy trainee and dairy manager entrants on work visas and we have in this magazine many of those migrants’ stories. They have come from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, England and Wales, have worked hard and excelled in the regional Dairy Industry Awards competition.

Many more have found great jobs and careers in the industry and are able to carve out a life in New Zealand as well as sending money home to help their wider families.

Each of the regional winners said something about how they are loving NZ, loving the dairy industry and are keen to stay and progress through the industry as they so appreciated the opportunities it offered to them if they worked hard.

Many also said how they are contributing to their new community – getting involved in fire-fighting, Young Farmers, sports and social clubs, churches and school communities.

It’s people like these hard-working community-minded individuals that strengthen our rural communities, add to our diversity and teach our children and fellow New Zealanders to accept and appreciate differences in colour, nationality, religion and outlook.

Some wise person said that children are not born racist, they are taught those attitudes at an early age.

The best way for young people to learn accepting attitudes that leave no room for casual racism is for them to get to know and respect people from other nationalities all around them – at home, on the farm, at school and in their community. And to see their mothers and fathers accepting and respecting other nationalities too – through good role modelling.

When travelling and working in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s I was accused of “coming over here and taking our jobs” – despite the jobs I was doing were ones that locals didn’t want to do or were not qualified to do.

It’s much the same here – there are not enough Kiwis that want to work on dairy farms – so let’s embrace the migrants that we get coming here and helping out in our industry – it helps them, their families and helps us in running our dairy businesses.

After all, deep down we were all immigrants originally.

White supremacy views have no place in our industry, in our country or in our communities. Let’s show the rest of the world how we can be accepting and respectful and appreciative of all nationalities and creeds.

Enjoy reading the stories of our DIA regional winners, and best of luck to all those competing in the nationals, it will be a close contest!

Jackie Harrigan