A Kauri in the Forest - Michael Spaans

November 21, 2017

Federated Farmers is extremely saddened to learn of the passing of DairyNZ chairman Michael Spaans.

Federated Farmers extends its condolences to the Spaan family at this difficult time.

Mr Spaans was renowned for his commitment and dedication to the dairy sector and held several key positions as a director at Fonterra and board member at DairyNZ between 2008 - 2015.

Federation vice president Andrew Hoggard said Michael was an asset to the dairy sector   and agriculture with his extensive governance acumen.

Above all though, he will remember him as “a farmer first and foremost and someone who especially cared about decisions and what that meant on-farm.”

“If I had one enduring memory of Michael, it was back in 2013 at the launch of the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord. All the various signatories were accepting plaques on behalf of their organisations and Michael was representing DairyNZ.

“Seeing John Key - the then Prime Minister - looking a long way up, after been dwarfed by Michael was bloody amusing.  When it came to the pictures you could see the PM actually shifting his feet to get on his tip-toes.”

Federated Farmers dairy industry chair Chris Lewis described Mr Spaans as a “kauri in the forest” and a considerate man who showed great leadership.

“I’ve worked with Michael on the Waikato Dairy Leaders Group and first met him around five years ago. I recall asking him if he played defence as a basketballer or a lock in the first 15.

“He probably got asked that question a lot, he’ll be greatly missed.”