Dairy Community Leadership Award

“Celebrating inspiration and excellence at grass roots”

The Dairy Community Leadership Award recognises a dairying woman who is making a significant contribution in her local rural community, through leadership and support.

The award includes a scholarship to attend the Community and Enterprise Leadership Programme at the University of Waikato. Click here to view the 2018 CELF Programme dates.

The Dairy Community Leadership Award 2018 title will be awarded at the national conference in Rotorua on 22nd March 2018. Finalists will be individually interviewed on 20th February 2018 in Auckland to ascertain a winner followed by Media training and filming on the 21st February 2018 in Auckland.

The selection panel consists of five judges including representatives from DWN (Chief Executive Officer), ASB representative; Tompkins Wake representative and a DWN Regional Leader.


The judging panel will give consideration to the following qualities when awarding the Dairy Community Leadership Award:

  1. The entrant demonstrates leadership in her local community.
  2. The entrant makes a significant contribution to her local community and plays an active role in community organisations and events.
  3. She encompasses the values of Dairy Women’s Network (make it happen, inclusive, stand tall together, and one of a kind) and is a good representative for the organisation.
  4. She is an active and supportive member of Dairy Women’s Network, taking part in all manner of regional group events, as well as national initiatives.
  5. Her contributions have made a positive difference in her local dairy community.

Nominations are now closed.

2018 Winner

Kylie Leonard
Kylie Leonard milks 400 cows at Oruanui, Taupo, with her husband Rick and daughters Kate, 10 and twins Isla and Eloise, 6. Her family has a proud history of farming in the Central Plateau region, where her grandparents walked to Reporoa from Te Aroha in the 1950s to establish their dairy farm.

Originally training as a teacher, Leonard’s dream was to own a farm. In 2011 she and her husband entered into a farm equity partnership with her parents, where she continues to milk and rear calves while teaching children with dyslexia part-time.

She believes in setting a positive example to others, supporting AgITO students and chairing her children’s school’s Board of Trustees. She is also patron of Taupo Family Playcentre and is on the Taupo board of the Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP).

Leonard says news of the nomination came as a surprise, and she hopes to continue to inspire others in the rural sector. “Long term I would love to encourage more people to enter our industry and help them take advantage of the wonderful opportunities out there,” she says.

2018 Finalist

Lorraine Stephenson
Lorraine Stephenson and her husband have been farming in the Manawatu region since 1979, taking ownership of their dairy farm – Te Hore – in 1990. A member of the Rangitāne iwi, Stephenson’s farm is named after the Rangitāne women who more than 600 years ago claimed mana whenua of the land around where she farms today.

Of Rangitāne, Kahungunu, Te Ātihaunui a Pāpārangi and Irish descent, Stephenson joined her first committee at 16 years-old and hasn’t looked back. Her community involvement stems from her interests in Māori and farming, conservation, resource management, the environment, climate change and global warming.

An active Fonterra shareholder, she has decades of managerial experience across several roles, including a 34-year membership of her local dairy discussion group Kiritaki. She is chair of her local Te Kura Kaupapa Māori school and is currently an executive member of Rangitāne, representing them on several initiatives, including the National Greenhouse Gas Advisory Board and the Hawke’s Bay/East Coast Conservation Board.

As a DairyNZ environmental leader she is involved in river initiatives and advises local Marae on environmental matters, and has been an environmental resource management act commissioner for 30 years.

Stephenson says being nominated for the Dairy Community Leadership Award reinforces the importance of community connection and relationships in farming.

“I’ve always been an advocate for women in farming and encouraging farming women to grow their knowledge and interest in farming activities,” she says. “This nomination recognises our combined efforts to be proactive and committed to New Zealand’s farming sector.”

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