Outstanding Contribution to Co-operatives 2021: Graeme Sutton

By Cooperative Business New Zealand | March 2022
Graeme Sutton, Chair of Provelco, was recognised for his long-history of dedicated service to the sector with the Outstanding Contribution to Co-operatives 2021 Award.


Graeme Sutton has a long history of working with the co-operative model to advance the position of farmers, having served the sector for over three decades. He was recognised for his efforts with the Outstanding Co-operative Contribution Award for 2021.

This award recognises individuals who, over the long term, have contributed significantly to the success of the co-operative model for a Cooperative Business NZ member organisation, or to the wider co-operative sector.

While nominees were required to have over 10 years of service to the sector, this award is not only about recognising long service. It also recognises the significant contributions the finalists have made to developing the co-operative business model and sector.  

The individuals who were up for this award were of the highest calibre of leaders and co-operative champions, and it was difficult for the judging panel to make a decision.

Currently the Chair of Provelco, Graeme was nominated by their General Manager Ross Chambers.

Graeme’s first directorship was at Ravensdown in 1987 and since then he has served on the boards of seven different farmer co-operatives. The exception was Network Tasman, but even then – his appointment was to represent the rural sector. It goes without saying that co-operatives and the rural sector are intrinsically linked.  

As Ross stated in his nomination, “Graeme has a keen understanding of the need to articulate a vision and take people with him to achieve positive outcomes.” 

“He has always sought long-run benefits for the business and community organisations he’s been involved in” 

Roz Henry, CEO, says “Congratulations Graeme! Well-deserved recognition and the sector is very lucky and honoured to have had your service for all these years.”

Graeme Sutton (L) and Provelco General Manager, Ross Chambers (R)


The other finalists in the Outstanding Contribution to Co-operatives Category for 2021 were:

  • Warwick Catto, Science Strategy Manager of Ballance Agri-Nutrients 
  • Gordon Guthire, Retired CEO of EA Networks

With thanks to Anderson Lloyd and LBMX. The Annual Awards would not be possible without your support. 

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