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CLIENT NEWS: Dairy Community Leadership Award Finalists

Dairy Community Leadership Award Finalists

Three finalists for the Dairy Women's Network's Dairy Community Leadership Award have been announced.

They are Tracey Collis from Eketahuna, Lisa Hicks from Ohakune and Katrina Simpson from Hokitika.

Collis, a first term elected member of Tararua District Council, will contest the district mayoralty in the local body elections on October 8.

Tracey is passionate about dairy farming, business viability and community resilience. She is a first term District Councillor with numerous portfolios and volunteers for many community committees and groups.

She is also involved in advocacy for realistic regulation, mental health support and community engagement for dairy farmers.

She and her husband Mike have farmed together for 27 years and are former regional Sharemilker of the Year winners.

Dairy Woman's Network Manawatu Regional Group Convenor Hicks is an advocate for learning disabilities through working with students that struggle with the written work. Her vision "to assist others to achieve through on-farm training and skill development" was realised by networking with communities and training providers.

Hicks also initiated the establishment of the Ohakune Dairy NZ discussion group and hosts local and international agri students from Land Based Training, PGG Wrightson, Massey University and students from Ruapehu High School. Regular on farm field days are also held to share what dairy farming is about to urban children.

Hicks, and her partner Graeme Sorensen, manage an 800 cow, 400 hectare dairy farm in Ohakune, But she started off on a Hawke's Bay beef farm where she was raised. She switched to dairy farming in 2007. Their vision is to purchase their own dairy farm and assist others to excel through a supportive environment in on-farm training and skill development.

Simpson, a former Dairy Women's Network Regional Convenor for the West Coast, holds three positions at Hokitika Scout Group. She is Group Leader, directing the leaders and parent run committee, and leader of both the Kea Scouts and Cub Scouts sections.

She has three children aged five to 10.

Since 2012 Simpson and her husband have run a dairy grazing and finishing beef operation near Hutia, following some years as 50:50 share milkers in South Westland.

Simpson also works full time as a livestock drafter for Silver Fern Farms in the area from Karamea to Haast.

Dairy Women's Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers said Collis, Hicks and Simpson typified the thousands of women who worked at the heart of communities.

"All three of our finalists have their community at heart and it is going to be a very hard job for the judges to pick out a standout winner.

The winner will be announced at an awards evening on May 4 at the Dairy Women's Network conference at Claudelands Events Centre, Hamilton.

The winner will receive a Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation (CELF) scholarship over nine months, thanks to sponsorship from national Hamilton based law firm Tompkins Wake.

"As a founding sponsor of the CELF program, Tompkins Wake has committed to building leaders and creating stronger and more prosperous communities, investing $75,000 over three years to support six aspiring leaders through CELF," said chief executive Jon Calder.

"Our firm has a strong agribusiness practice, with clients spread across the agri supply and value chain. Our sponsorship with DWN recognises the importance of education, support and knowledge sharing, and we are proud to be supporting the Dairy Community Leadership Award in 2016."

ASB is a co-sponsor of the award.

Past winners are Chris Paterson (2014) and Rachael Nicholson with Jo Sanford (2015).

Tracey Collis

Tracey Collis
Katrina Simpson

Katrina Simpson
Lisa Hicks

Lisa Hicks