Co-operative champions recognised

Co-operative champions recognised


Pete Morrison (Chairman, Westland Milk Products), Clark Taylor (Shareholder Relations Manager, Silver Fern Farms), Colm Hamrogue (Director Strategy and Communications, Farmlands), Murray King (Chairman, LIC), Roy Clements (Director, Composite Retail Co-op), Phil McKendry (Annual Awards Review Panel), Stefan Azzopardi (CFO, Southern Cross Health Society).


Dr Lisa Callagher (Annual Awards Review Panel), Kim DeGarnham (GM Employee Relations and Support Services / Company Secretary, Foodstuffs South Island), Toni Brendish (CEO, Westland Milk Products)

The awards, which recognise outstanding contributions to the co-operative business sector, were presented on August 14th in Christchurch.

An independent judging panel selected the winners from a host of impressive nominations across four categories.

Co-operative Business of the Year: Westland Milk Products

The Hokitika-based, farmer-owned dairy co-operative won recognition for successfully re-inventing itself using the enduring co-operative model as a strength, while promoting to its customers the productive relationship it has with its 350 shareholding farmers.

Cooperative Business NZ CEO Craig Presland said Westland showed how the co-operative model can compete internationally in an increasingly complex and highly competitive industry.

“This is demonstrated in the co-operative’s new purpose of ‘nourishment made beautifully for generations’, highlighting the inter-generational farmer-owned structure, emphasising the importance of time and place, dedication to quality, and the personal investment that farmers have in the products that Westland Milk Products manufactures for its customers,” Craig said.

“Westland has had a successful 2017/18 with the gap in its milk pay-out, when compared to its leading rivals, having been reduced”.

Co-operative Leader of the Year: Murray King | Chairman Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC)

The Chairman of Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), Nelson’s Murray King, has been recognised for his exceptional leadership while steering the agri-tech co-operative through a sustained period of disruption and uncertainty.

With Murray at the helm, Craig Presland said “the LIC board has provided a comprehensive review of its capital structure, including delivering a simpler and fairer share structure, while staying true to its stated aim of protecting the co-operative principles that are fundamental to its operations.

“When others’ energy and enthusiasm might have waned, Murray continued to lead the change, retaining the focus of protecting and growing LIC while holding the board to account for decisions on the way through.”

Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives: Farmlands & Silver Fern Farms (jointly)

This award, which takes its name from one of the co-operative movement’s founding seven Rochdale Principles, was jointly won by Farmlands and Silver Fern Farms for To the Core, a joint governance training initiative.

Craig Presland described To the Core as “a win-win, delivering mutual benefits while supporting the development of future rural leaders.

“The three-day course (pictured below) was run at Farmlands’ Christchurch support office, with 23 Farmlands and Silver Fern Farms shareholders from around New Zealand attending. The two co-operatives teamed up because some issues are better solved by working together. It was a great opportunity to share resources and facilities while avoiding duplication.”

Outstanding Co-operative Contribution: Kim DeGarnham

A pioneering co-operative executive, Christchurch’s Kim DeGarnham has been recognised for her significant contributions stretching over 30 years.

In 1996 Kim became the first appointed female manager at Foodstuffs South Island and then, in 2009, when she was appointed to the Corporate Executive team, she also broke new ground as its first female executive. She has mentored, supported and encouraged female co-op members and staff throughout her career.

Craig Presland said,

“bringing a more diverse approach towards business, and not afraid of a challenge, colleagues say that Kim has successfully turned a lot of things on their head over the past 3 decades while often creating a more modern and progressive mind shift.”

“ Kim has also been an outstanding director of Cooperative Business NZ since 2014 including playing a key role in successfully negotiating legislative changes to International Financial Reporting standards as they impact on NZ’s co-operatives”.

Enduring Service Awards were also presented to three co-operatives celebrating key milestones.

50+ years Enduring Service Award

  • Composite Retail Co-operative
  • First Credit Union
  • Southern Cross Health Society