Dairy Women’s Network Media Release: Fonterra 2023 Dairy Woman of the Year Finalists Announced

The Fonterra 2023 Dairy Woman of the Year Finalists are today announced as Donna Cram, Kimberly Crewther, Rebecca Miller and Sheena Penwarden. 

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

Donna Smit, DWN Trustee says, “this is one of the most diverse groups we’ve ever had as finalists, each bringing incredible passion, knowledge, leadership and mana to the sector. 

“Donna Cram influences locally and nationally through a large range of positions, Kimberly is our first ever off-farm finalist who plays a key role for our sector nationally and internationally, Sheena is driven by Maori values, passionate about educating her community on dairy and the environment, and Rebecca has a passion and vision for influencing through a heart-centred drive. They are all inspirational in their commitment and passion for dairying.”

Each nominee is a Dairy Women’s Network member and the five judges include representatives from Dairy Women’s Network, Fonterra, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a previous Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year recipient. 

The judges will be assessing the finalist on a range of factors; including commitment, drive and passion for the dairy sector, to being a positive role model for women in dairying. They will need to be a strong performer, who is recognised by her peers as a potential leader, demonstrating leadership within her community, and with a wider circle of influence than her local community, holding or having previously held leadership positions on regional or national dairy organisations. 

The judges will be looking for someone who has a vision to add value to the dairy sector’s future and is actively working towards achieving that in her current professional and personal journey.

Donna Smit says, “the recipient will receive a scholarship of up to $20,000 for an approved and personally chosen development programme, or professional/business coaching and/or learning experience. 

“Each finalist is living the DWN values and offers a huge amount to our sector, epitomising the ‘bigger, brighter, bolder’ mantra shared through the DWN Conference.

“Every year, these amazing women step up and put themselves out there for the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year. They are everything we should be proud about in the dairy sector; they are courageous, kind, passionate and visionary”, says Donna.

 The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award will be announced on 3 May at the Gala dinner of DWN 2023 Conference “Brighter, Braver, Bolder”. 


Photo: Supplied by DWN; Donna Cram, Kimberly Crewther, Rebecca Miller and Sheena Penwarden nee Waru

For more information contact: 

Zellara Holden 
07 974 4852

About the Finalists

Donna Cram  

Donna, as a fourth-generation dairy farmer from Taranaki, is heavily involved in her community, as the Taranaki Catchment Communities Inc Chair and Founder, part of the DairyNZ Dairy Environment Leaders, and a DairyNZ Climate Change ambassador, a member of Taranaki Federated Farmer Exec, a Trustee for Dairy Trust Taranaki and Councillor at Taranaki Regional Council. She is a lifelong learner, with a passion for connecting people, bringing new people through the industry, a focus on the environment and how we can continue to produce amazing food in a sustainable way. She leads by example and her farm was one of three finalists in the Fonterra Responsible Dairy Award in 2021. She is passionate about financial sustainability having trained as an accountant.   

Kimberly Crewther 

Kimberley is best known for being the Executive Director of DCANZ (Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand). She focuses on maintaining and growing opportunities for New Zealand dairy products, including advancing trade liberalisation and ensuring dairy exports continue to be supported by fit-for-purpose food regulation and biosecurity systems. She Chair’s the member reference and funders groups for the Biosecurity Business Pledge, is a Board member of the New Zealand International Business Forum, represents dairy companies in the Government and Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response, and is a member of the New Zealand National Committee for the International Dairy Federation. Her work on issues and opportunities of importance to the dairy industry spans 20 years. Kimberly role models a positive approach to collaboration and robust debate to deliver strong industry outcomes. 

Rebecca Miller  

Rebecca has been dairy farming her whole life, and currently in an Equity and Share-farming business across two farms near Ashburton. In 2021 she won the Emerging Leader award for Canterbury. She has been involved with DWN for many years and has been an active participant in a range of projects, workshops and activities, including completing a Kellogg’s Project, which lead to her creating an online information platform. She has been and is actively part of the industry from supporting the Farming Families Charitable Trust Rural Support events team, AWDT mentoring programme, Federated Farmers, and supporting research projects. She is driven by her leadership why, to create “heart-centred” connected environments, so that feelings of support and value are a natural part of life and business”. She and her partner trademarked the word farmily™ to describe the interpersonal relational connection developed on farm, as a living philosophy of kindness, maturity, and responsiveness. Rebecca would love to share this with mentorship, and coaching, by developing dynamic agile tools for people and their teams on farm.  

Sheena Penwarden nee Waru 

Sheena is the Assistant Manager at Whananaki Farms and is the Operations Manager for Te runanga o te rarawa, as the freshwater environmentalist representative for the 23 Marae of te rarawa. She supports the hapu by taking their aspirations and helping to educate them with modern and western science to develop and understand the importance of improvement within their area. She actively educates and advises others to challenge themselves and volunteers for Breast Cancer NZ.  

Sheena was Northland Dairy Manager of the Year in 2020.  

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