DCLA Past Winners and Finalists

  • Winner – Katrina Thomas


    After 21 years in tourism, Katrina moved back to Southland where she met her sheep farming husband. Where they later converted their sheep farm to dairy.

    She was Invercargill’s DWN regional group convenor and is now the Southern Regional Hub Leader (Otago, Central Otago & Southland).

    She’s involved with community groups such as the Takitimu School PTA, Western Tennis, Takitimu District Pool and many more. Katrina has also recently been appointed the Regional Leader representative on the DWN Trust Board.

    “Katrina is a high energy, motivated leader who sweeps everyone along with her enthusiasm and passion for making things happen within the community she lives. She is a self-starter, a practical hand on problem solver, who gets things done!

    Her good communication skills coupled with her inclusive leadership style and can do attitude has led her to become the hub of many community activities in Southland.

    Her dedication to Dairy Women’s Network, dairy farming women is inspirational. Katrina does not only spear head the development and roll-out of practical, value added training to dairy farmers she displays empathy and caring when initiating fun, social events during tough times.” – Judges Panel


    Alison Ferris

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    Originally from the UK, Alison lives on her and husband Nick’s 500 cow dairy farm outside Te Kuiti, and they also own farms in Waikato and Southland.

    She is active on several school and community boards and groups and has represented regional convenors on DWN’s board of trustees.

    Cathy Prendergast

    Cathy Prendergast

    Cathy and husband Nick milk 550 cows in Arohena outside Te Awamutu. A registered nurse, Cathy is heavily involved in the Arohena community on several boards and committees including the playcentre (as president), schools and church.

    She has been a member of the Arohena Rural Women committee for 30 years.

  • Winner – Lisa Hicks

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    Lisa Hicks and partner manage an 800 cow, 400ha farm in Ohakune.

    Lisa is a Dairy Women’s Network convener.  She initiated the establishment of the Ohakune Dairy NZ discussion group and hosts local and international agri student tours.  She is an advocate for people with learning disabilities.

    “Lisa embodies what leadership by example represents. She has an amazing ability to mentor, connect and inspire across generational, cultural and language barriers.

    A lifelong and passionate learner that sets herself and others high standards.

    Her cultural awareness, inclusiveness and natural warmth is a credit to her and her tenacity and drive for education despite having dyslexia is an inspiration to us all.” – Judges Panel 


    Katrina Simpson

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    Katrina and family live near Hokitika where they graze dairy and finish beef.  Previously she and her husband were 50:50 sharemilkers. She has 3 children and works fulltime as a Livestock Drafter.

    She joined the local DWN regional group in 2009 and is currently the Regional Convenor.

    Tracey Collis

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    Tracey and husband farm in Eketahuna, milking 225 cows. They have farmed for 27 years and are previous regional Sharemilker of the Year winners.

    Tracey is a Dairy Industry Awards judge.  She also advocates for realistic regulation, mental health support and community engagement for dairy farmers.

  • Winner – Rachael Nicholson 


    Rachael and her husband sharemilked on three different farms, growing their herd and building capital before they bought their farm in 2007.

    Having two children, Rachael joined Plunket, playcentre and school committees.
    The couple has since sold their farm but stayed in their Riversdale (North Southland) community where she continues to belong to multiple committees.

    Winner – Jo Sanford


    Jo farms near Tuatapere, Western Southland, milking 800 cows. She volunteers for multiple community organisations and says giving back to the community is important to her.

    Jo is honoured to be a finalist and looks forward to her journey staying involved in boards/groups that help make her community a great place to live.


    Katrina Thomas

    Katrina was raised on a sheep farm in Southland. After meeting her husband, they converted his family farm in Wrey’s Bush to dairy. During this time, she was president/area secretary of Central Southland Plunket, and the local kindy committee.

    After joining DWN, Katrina became the Invercargill Group Convenor, and remains on numerous committees/groups.

    Tania Earnshaw

    Tania is a contract milker near Te Aroha, who loves the sense of community provided by farming.

    She has been a DWN member for 11 years, and was also involved with her local young farmers and had been chair, it gave her the confidence to put her hand up when other opportunity’s came along. She has been on DWN conference committee teaches archery, horse riding and pet day skills.

  • Winner – Chris Paterson

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