Co-founder of Cooperative Business NZ in 1982, Brian Cameron received the Outstanding Contribution Award at our AGM & Awards Dinner held at Auckland last August.

The Ashburton octogenarian also co-founded what’s now Irrigation NZ in 1978. This irrigation industry body plus four of the country’s irrigation companies are members of Cooperative Business NZ.

Now an Honorary Member, Brian is retired but still co-operative at heart.

Chief Executive Craig Presland describes Brian as an entrepreneurial and selfless Kiwi who has earned the respect of many distinguished community, academic, business and political leaders throughout New Zealand.

“Brian Cameron represents many of the traits that make New Zealand special – hard work, humility, community service and a can-do attitude. On a personal level, I have been highly impressed by his vision and courage, commitment and loyalty. His list of achievements and successes is quite phenomenal.

Cooperative Business NZ proudly represents and supports this country’s co-operatives, mutuals and societies. Our existence as a not-for-profit membership organisation is due in large part to the initiative and leadership of Brian almost four decades ago.

“Together with his pivotal contribution to the establishment and success of our organisation and business sector, plus the apex body for the NZ irrigation industry, he has also contributed generously to Lincoln University, local community and fellow Cantabrians,” says Craig.

As Chairman of Cooperative Business NZ for some 17 years, Brian was committed to raising the standard of co-operative governance.

“Under his leadership, 30 three-day director training seminars were held throughout NZ and featured overseas experts on several occasions. This initiative continues today with an accelerated programme of governance training for co-operative directors.

“As our country’s co-operative business sector’s performance and reputation grew, Brian was invited to present several papers in Australia, England and Europe. Topics ranged from the ground-breaking co-operative legislation he championed to farming without subsidies.”

Brian Cameron was a pioneer on many fronts.

“In 1969, the year when man first walked on the moon, Brian sank the first deep irrigation bore in New Zealand and was the first to use underground mains.”

“This was a risky endeavour for the young farmer and his family with little industry support or knowledge available to assist his trailblazing.

“Today, irrigated agriculture is a multi-billion-dollar industry with efficient and reliable water the backbone of many primary industries. It facilitates a consistency and quality of primary production that delivers hugely beneficial social, environmental and economic outcomes to many rural communities and the NZ economy.

“Brian’s many and various contributions to New Zealand indicate a strong, long-term commitment to the environment and its sustainable management.

“Over and over again, this remarkable man proved that environmental sustainability and economic development could be achieved in parallel as New Zealand made its proud way in the world,” Craig Presland says.