Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award

The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award recognises an outstanding woman who has contributed to the dairy industry with passion, drive, innovation and leadership.

The winner will receive a scholarship of up to $20,000 for an approved development programme, professional/business coaching and/or learning experience (or combination of these) chosen by the recipient.

The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year 2019 title will be awarded at the national conference in Christchurch on 1 May 2019. Finalists will be individually interviewed on 15 April 2019 in Auckland to ascertain a winner followed by media training and filming.

The selection panel consists of five judges including representatives from Dairy Women’s Network, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a previous Dairy Woman of the Year Winner.


The judging panel will give consideration to the following qualities when awarding the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year title:

The entrant has a commitment, drive and passion for the dairy industry as a whole and is a positive role model for women in dairying.

  1. She is a strong performer, who is recognised by her peers as a potential leader.
  2. She demonstrates leadership within her community, but has a wider circle of influence than her local community.
  3. The entrant is influential in the dairy industry, holding or having previously held leadership positions on regional or national dairy organisations.
  4. She may also hold/have held a governance role in relevant organisations, or have future aspirations in governance in the dairy industry. The entrant has a vision to add value to the dairy industry’s future and is actively working towards achieving that in her current professional and personal journey.
  5. She is a Dairy Women’s Network member.

Nominations close 31 March 2019.



2018 Recipient

Loshni Manikam

Loshni Manikam is originally from South Africa and now lives in Southland, milking 600 cows with her husband and three children. In 2007 they were named Southland Sharemilker of the Year, before progressing to their current equity partnership.

Manikam has a special interest in human behaviour and is dedicated to the development of the current and emerging leaders in the dairy industry, which, she says, stems from her belief that people are the most important part of the industry. A former lawyer, Manikam transitioned from dairy farming to leadership coaching after receiving her coach certification in 2012. She is the founding director of Iceberg Coaching and a strategic consultant for Farmstrong, working to support the wellbeing of farming communities.

She is currently a trustee of the Southern Dairy Development Trust, a coach and facilitator of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator Programme, and a Federated Farmers Southland executive member.

Manikam says being nominated for Dairy Woman of the Year demonstrates the value and success of ‘ordinary’ dairy farming women. “It shows that you can raise a family and still progress through the industry, reach the top, and have a say at industry level.”

2018 Finalists 

 Rachel Baker

Rachel Baker farms in Central Hawke’s Bay with her husband and three children. With more than 20 years’ experience in the dairy industry, Baker has held several roles during her career, including as a veterinarian and a dairy consultant. She and her husband won the Manawatu Sharemilker of the Year title in 2009, and progressed to large scale sharemilking before purchasing a dairy support unit in 2017.

She is chair of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards executive and a consultant for private dairy clients and Manawatu farm syndicate MyFarm. She frequently offers her time and expertise in education, guest speaking on dairy production systems and sharemilking at Massey University. She is also a Kellogg scholar, a Fonterra networker and has also been a Primary ITO tutor.

Locally, Baker is involved with her community and school and coaches junior netball.

Baker sees her nomination as recognition of the support and guidance of the many people she’s worked with who have encouraged her to get involved for the betterment of the sector.

“It’s an opportunity to highlight that being involved and giving back to the industry is a fantastic way to meet new people and open doors to new experiences and possibilities,” she says.


Tracey Collis

Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis milks 220 cows with her husband and four children in Eketahuna in the Manawatu-Wanganui region. They have judged several Sharemilker of the Year awards, having previously won the Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua region award in 2003.

Collis is an advocate for the representation and advancement of regional farming businesses and farmer wellbeing. She is a member of the Institute of Directors and her local Chamber of Commerce, and is a Fonterra networker and graduate of the Fonterra Governance and Agricultural Women’s Development Trust Escalator programmes.

She served a term as a councillor before being elected Mayor of the Tararua district in 2016. She has a passion for farming, business and the environment and is a resource management commissioner, a dairy environment leader and a member of Horizons Dairy Leaders Group.

Collis says the nomination is an honour and it is humbling to be acknowledged by her peers. “I think it demonstrates to other dairy women how easily transferable our skill set is and how much we contribute and offer to the industry, our communities and New Zealand.”

Sponsored By:

Fonterra Logo