The Dairy Women’s Network, along with Fonterra, announced the winner of New Zealand’s first, annual ‘Dairy Woman of the Year’ award at a gala dinner during its annual conference Wednesday night, 21 March.
Recognised for her dedication to the industry, Barbara Kuriger was the award’s honoured recipient. As Dairy Woman of the Year, Mrs Kuriger was awarded a scholarship on the prestigious Women in Leadership 12 month course run by Global Women, which is valued at $25,000. The scholarship is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply.
There were six finalists named in the awards including: Barbara Kuriger, Katrina Knowles and Shona Glentworth - all from Taranaki – and Raelyn Lourie of Westland, Justine Dalton of Hawkes Bay and Mandi McLeod of Waikato.
Barbara Kuriger and her husband, Louis, own and operate a dairy farm in New Plymouth. She plays a key part in the business and is known for her leadership contribution - at not only a local level but also on a regional and national level.
Michelle Wilson, Chair of Dairy Women’s Network, said that Barbara represented the type of leadership the Dairy Women’s Network wants to foster. “The judges saw in Barbara a real demonstration of leadership by example. She exemplifies the Dairy Women’s Network values of innovation, commitment, inclusiveness, credibility and integrity. Barbara displays an absolute passion for all people involved in the dairy industry,” she said.
With a history of over 25 years in the industry, Mrs Kuriger’s knowledge runs deep. As the first woman regional director of LIC she sets the bar high. Along with other such leadership roles as the DairyNZ directorship, she has encouraged women to aspire to take active roles in determining the future of the dairy industry. Her involvement with the entrepreneurial investment, Taranaki Growth Spurt, has also encouraged women to look outside their existing careers and farms for further challenges.
Mrs Kuriger has demonstrated a significant contribution on her own farm that can be seen in the variety of awards she and her husband have won over the years. Her successes in other key leadership roles outside of the family farm, both within the dairy and agriculture industry, are well known in her community. Among those successes is her role in dairying and agricultural education, which has proven to be a key area of influence in creating opportunities within the industry for learning. Her direction in helping industry promote and celebrate positive role models through the Dairy Industry Awards has been significant as well.
In addition to her role in dairying, family is important to the new award recipient. She is a mother of three and grandmother of two. An important theme for Mrs Kuriger is families working together within the industry. She inspires others to pursue this type of ideal by leading through example. Her own family and their partners have joined her and her husband to work alongside each other in the dairy industry.
Mrs Kuriger has proven herself over and over to be an exceptional and passionate leader in the dairy and agriculture industry. At the heart of her passion is helping the people involved in it. Her continued roles along with her long-standing leadership in the Dairy Industry ensure the industry continues to have positive role models and leaders for the future.
The Women in Leadership course begins in September 2012 and will give Mrs Kuriger 12 months of exposure to globally focussed women in leadership roles across the business sector.
As sponsor of the $25,000 scholarship, Steve Murphy, General Manager Milk Supply, said, “Fonterra congratulates Barbara as the winner of the 2012 Dairy Woman of the Year Award. Her passion is commendable and it’s great to see her leadership acknowledged through this award. We wish her the best of luck with her place on the prestigious Women in Leadership course and look forward to working with her in the upcoming year.”
The judging panel for the award consisted of the Dairy Women’s Network chair, a representative of DairyNZ, a representative of Fonterra and a representative from Global Women.