Finalists announced for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

The finalists for one of the year’s most anticipated events – the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award – have been released.  

The finalists are Myfanwy Alexander, Amber Carpenter, Katrina Roberts, and Michelle Ruddell.

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.

The recipient of the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award will receive a scholarship to be part of the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. The scholarship covers the programme fee, travel, and accommodation, mentoring and access to DWN and Fonterra’s platforms to share research.

Donna Smit, DWN Trustee says this year’s awards saw a large number of high calibre entries. All are members of the Dairy Women’s Network.

“It is nice to see a good spread of capable grassroots farmers, inspiring leaders, and rural professionals who have contributed so much to the industry being nominated. A lot of the entrants have multiple skills across community, environmental, professional, and commercial. Based on this wide variety of skills, the dairy industry is in good heart for the future,” she says.

The award’s judges include representatives from Dairy Women’s Network, Fonterra, Rural Leaders, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and a previous Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year recipient.

Finalists will be assessed on a range of factors including commitment, drive, and passion for the dairy sector. They will need to be a positive role model for women in dairying and 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 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award will be announced on Thursday 2 May at the Gala dinner of DWN 2024 Conference “Enhance, Elevate, Evolve” in New Plymouth.


Photo: Supplied by DWN; (Clockwise from top left) Myfanwy Alexander, Amber Carpenter, Katrina Roberts, and Michelle Ruddell.

For more information contact: 
Sarah van Munster
Insights and Media Manager
Phone: 07 974 4852

About the Finalists

Myfanwy Alexander
Originally from Wales, Myfanwy came to New Zealand to intern on a dairy farm, 18 years ago, during university and fell in love with the country. For the past decade she has been contract milking in the Waitaki Valley on a 280ha, 920-cow farm. Well-known in the North Otago community and dairy sector, Myfanwy is the DWN Regional Leader in North Otago, president of the North Otago Federated Farmers and sits on the South Island Dairy Event governance group. She is described as “the embodiment of a positive role model” and a hardworking, dedicated, caring and empathetic leader who strives to see others succeed.

Amber Carpenter
Amber may have grown up a “city girl” in Bucklands Beach, Auckland, but she is right at home in gumboots on the farm sharemilking 450 cows on a Paparimu dairy farm, with a separated beef block. She is Chair of DairyNZ’s Dairy Environment Leaders, an ambassador for FarmStrong, has held leadership roles within the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, completed the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme, is completing a Diploma in Agribusiness and is in the Agri Women’s Development Trust Escalator programme.

Amber is described as relatable, inspirational and a positive role model who is able to connect on both a personal and group level to inspire connection and trust and demonstrates strong leadership.

Katrina Roberts
A herd health veterinarian and farm consultant, Katrina has a true passion for people and dairy animal health. She is actively involved in the dairy sector at grassroots and higher industry levels and has been instrumental in helping Waikato farmers improve their farms, businesses and achieve their goals.

She is described as an excellent role model who is curious, open to self-improvement and giving of her time. Katrina is a mentor of young vets and active with DairyNZ as an InCalf Trainer and member of several steering groups. For the past 20 years she has volunteered with Cambridge Riding for the Disabled and is an active member of the Walton School Board of Trustees, netball coaching, and Matamata Pony Club.

Michelle Ruddell
Michelle (Ngati Tūwharetoa) runs a large-scale dairy farm near Whangarei and chairs the Northland Rural Support Trust. She has a strong history of working in leadership roles in regional and national organisations and was instrumental in the Northland dairy sector’s recovery after Cyclone Gabrielle, providing hands-on support for those affected, fronting media interviews, and facilitating responses between various agencies.

She is described as an articulate, inclusive, and confident leader who builds relationship with ease and is driven to support the people in her business, community, and sector – “her passion and enthusiasm are contagious, and she encourages and motivates others to try new things and be courageous in what they do.”

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