2023 Primary Industries NZ Award finalists named


It’s a cliché that awards judges face difficult decisions picking winners but the calibre of finalists for the 2023 Primary Industry NZ Awards truly make it a nightmare for the judging panel.

How to choose, for example, the Team & Collaboration Award winner from a 5-year game-changing initiative to implement plantain as an environmentally functional forage; an all-women team that harnessed empathy and precision to devise digital farm plans to help food and fibre producers boost environmental and business sustainability; and a multi-organisation collaboration striving for new solutions to the challenges facing hill country farmers.

Or to confer the Fibre Producer Award between a fast-selling and innovative performance equine feed that started out as an idea on a date; a vertically integrated sawmilling business with impressive environmental and productivity credentials; and a traditional sheep station that has pursued a boutique fibre business with crafters and home spinners in mind.
"Those are the finalists in just two of the nine categories that feature in the 2023 Primary Industries New Zealand Awards," Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland says.

The awards ceremony on July 3 at Tākina, Wellington’s new Convention and Exhibition Centre, is the highlight of the fifth annual PINZ Summit.

"There were 65 award nominations this year and they underline the amazing diversity, commitment and cutting-edge science that underpin our nation’s primary industries," Terry says.

"It’s little wonder that our primary food and fibre products are so highly regarded in the intensely competitive international marketplace when, through these awards, you get a glimpse into the dedication and focus our researchers, producers, processors, innovators and governors invest in being the best they can be."

An Outstanding Contributor to our primary industries will be named on July 3. In the running are Lincoln University Honorary Professor of Agri-Food Systems Keith Woodford, a man who has done much of foster the integration of production with agribusiness;

Dr Tim Mackle, who at the end of June ends a 15-year stint and immense contribution as DairyNZ chief executive; and Julian O’Brien who has produced TVNZ’s Country Calendar since 2005 and began working on it in the 1980s.

One of the most hotly contested categories was the Technology Innovation Award. Finalists are Levno for Milk, an IoT technology and software-driven system to maximise production and quality of milk; DairySmart NZ, an initiative involving everyone from RFID data specialists to microbiologists to lower antibiotic use; and E-bin, a University of Waikato project that uses robotics to help the human workforce with kiwifruit harvesting.

"I don’t envy the judges deciding who the winners should be but I know the awards night and the PINZ Summit will be a showcase of everything that is great in our agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors," Terry says.

2023 Primary Industries New Zealand Awards finalists (with sponsors in brackets) are:

Team & Collaboration Award (BASF)

  • DairyNZ - Tararua Plantain Project
  • Programme co-funded by: Beef + Lamb NZ, MBIE, RAGT NZ and PGG Wrightson Seeds - Hill Country Futures Programme
  • Wai Kōkopu - Tipu Whenua - Digital Farm Plan Science & Research Award (Yashili)
  • AgResearch - The AgResearch Endophyte Discovery Team
  • Massey University of New Zealand - Project Vitality - Pāmu Deer Milk
  • Maui Milk New Zealand - Southern Cross Index (SXI)


Technology Innovation Award (Asure Quality/Kaitiaki Kai)

  • Levno - Levno for Milk
  • DairySmart NZ Ltd - James Bourke
  • University of Waikato - The e-Bin human assisted harvesting project


Emerging Leader Award (Lincoln University)

  • Dr Louise Hennessy, Scientist, AgResearch
  • Laura Koot, Executive Director, The Fairlight Foundation
  • Dylan Miller, Regional Manager Livestock NI, Alliance Group Ltd


Fibre Producer Award (FMG)

  • Grains & Gains Co
  • OneFortyOne - Kaituna Sawmill
  • Rewa Rewa Station


Food & Beverage Producer Award (Kotahi)

  • Headwaters NZ Limited - Head Waters Brand Story
  • Sanford Ltd - Big Glory Bay Salmon
  • Silver Fern Farms Ltd - Silver Fern Farms


Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand’s Primary Industries Award (AgResearch)

  • Professor Keith Woodford, Honorary Professor of Agri-Food Systems, Lincoln University
  • Dr Tim Mackle, CE, DairyNZ
  • Julian O'Brien, Producer & Director, TVNZ


Guardianship & Conservation Award/Kaitiakitanga Award (Rabobank)

  • Graham & Tracey Sinnamon, Farm Managers, Meringa Station - Pāmu Farms
  • Adam Thompson, Restore Native Ltd
  • Yuriy Soshnikov, Director TranzAlpine Honey New Zealand


Champion Award (PaySauce)

  • Dr Dave Leathwick, Scientist, AgResearch
  • Ross Wilson, Consultant, AgFirst
  • Warwick Catto, Science Strategy Manager& Jamie Strang of Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA)



For more information contact:
Simon Edwards | Senior Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892