National DIA Award winners

The trophy for the National Share Farmer of the Year has gone home to the Mighty Manawatu this year and the National Dairy Manager of the Year has its first Northland manager engraved on it.

2024 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year Kirwyn Ellis, Waikato 2024 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year Will Hinton and Kali Rangiawha, Manawatū 2024 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year Kieran McCahon, Northland

A UK farmer who came out to NZ shearing partnered up with a Kiwi dairy farmer and they have both been named NZ Share Farmers of the Year at the national Dairy Industry Awards in Queenstown.

Will Hinton and Kali Rangiawha are contract milking 350 cows at Halcombe in the Manawatu with three young kids in tow.

Will holds a BSc Agricultural Business Management from Reading University and a National Diploma in Agriculture from Lackham College. He built a farming partnership with his dad comprising 500 sheep and 30 cows before a shearing holiday in New Zealand led him to meeting Kali. Kali has worked her way up through the dairy industry after being introduced to the job as a relief milker. When the couple had their first child, Kali wanted to go back farming and she went contract milking while Will held a corporate job.  

“One of our values is to be courageous,” says Will. “I’ll never forget when Kali said she wanted to go back farming, it was seriously courageous – she was calving 200 cows herself with two young kids.”

The 2024 Dairy Manager of the Year went to Northland’s Kieran McCahon who enjoys working in the challenging Northland environment. “It’s quite a unique environment, we farm right out on the coast.”

Moving to Northland, a lot of people learn the lesson that pasture cover with straight Kikuyu is different. “The average cover of 2400kg DM of straight Kikuyu – getting hit with the first frost and having all of that cover disappear under your feet, or trying to milk cows on long rank Kikuyu you quickly learn the importance of transitioning that cover into something that grows cover  in winter.”

The 2024 Dairy Trainee of the Year is Kirwyn Ellis who is a herd manager in Pirongia. The 20-year-old was keen to get onto a farm as soon as he left school and follow in his family’s footsteps in the industry. “I don’t think I can remember not wanting to be farming, it’s been the plan since day dot so I’m absolutely living the dream.”

Congratulations to all the winners and entrants in this year’s awards.