Pictured above at Cooperative Business NZ’s 2017 Annual Awards are, from left: Duncan Coull (representing Fonterra); Oliver O’Neill (Ruralco); Neil Cowie (Mitre 10) and Brian Cameron.

New Zealand’s biggest co-operative, Fonterra has been recognised by its peers at a celebration of the people-centred, values-based co-operative business model.

Fonterra Co-operative Group, to give the dairy giant its full title, won the 2017 Co-operative Business of the Year category – one of eight awards presented at Cooperative Business New Zealand’s Annual Awards Dinner, held on August 10th at Auckland’s Eden Park.

A stunning financial turnaround, generous social responsibility programmes and a high-profile television campaign proudly proclaiming its Kiwi farmer-owned, co-operative status were key factors in winning the award.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chair Duncan Coull, who collected the award, says farmers should take real pride in this special recognition for their co-op.

“Our farmer shareholders set themselves high standards, and it’s their daily hard work and commitment that drives the success of the co-op. I also want to recognise the energy and contribution of our staff in helping build a co-op that returns such value to shareholders, local communities and the New Zealand economy.”

Chair Jonathan Lee said this year’s nominees and recipients were exceptional and reflected the best of co-operative values. The awards featured a new category – Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives – this year.

The 2017 Cooperative Business New Zealand Award Winners are:

  • Co-operative Business of the YearFonterra Co-operative Group
  • Co-operative Leader of the YearNeil Cowie, CEO Mitre 10
  • Co-operation Amongst Co-operativesOliver O’Neill, CFO Ruralco
  • Outstanding Co-operative ContributionBrian Cameron, co-operative pioneer.
  • Enduring Service AwardSBS Bank (100+ years category), established 1869
  • Enduring Service AwardLIC (100+ years category), established 1909
  • Enduring Service AwardFoodstuffs NI (75+ years category), established 1922
  • Enduring Service AwardNZPM Group (50+ years category), established 1964