Our Choice: Better Farming, Better Business, Better Future Summit

Thank you so much to everyone that came along to our summit and made the day a success. We had an awesome turnout and heard from some awesome speakers. Please see below our speaker profiles and their presentation slides to be downloaded. 

Dr. Tanira Kingi

Why do we need to change?
Dr. Tanira Kingi, a Climate Change Commissioner, brings over 30 years of expertise in New Zealand’s primary industries. Tanira is a Landcorp Farming director and Emeritus Scientist Scion. He’s held roles as a senior scientist at Scion and AgResearch, and as a research academic at Massey University. Tanira leads research programs funded by the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and the Our Land & Water National Science Challenge, focusing on mitigation strategies and land use. With affiliations to Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangitihi, Te Arawa, and Ngati Awa, Tanira holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the Australian National University and an MAppSc (Hons) from Massey University.

Alan McDermott

The solution for Bobbies and Low Carbon Beef as an example of starting to get change – and change isn’t easy
Alan McDermott co-founded Pearl Pastures Ltd with Julia Galwey in 2020, receiving the Market Leader Award at the 2023 Beef+Lamb NZ Awards for their Pearl Veal brand. Pearl Pastures collaborates with dairy farmers, producing rose veal from surplus dairy calves. Alan is also a partner at AgriFood Strategy Limited, a consultancy focusing on strategic issues like sustainability. With over 20 years of global experience, he led the development of NZFAP and NZFAP Plus farm assurance programs and contributed to Lumina Lamb’s farm systems and supply chain. Alan, a director of Red Meat Profit Partnership, previously worked at ANZCO Foods and AgResearch, dedicating 2.5 years to rural development projects in China. A Golden Bay resident, Alan holds a Master of Applied Science (First Class Honours) from Massey University.

Dr Julie McDade

Can we be the farmers market that is sought after by the world?
Julie’s professional journey is a dynamic blend of corporate communication and veterinary expertise. Beginning with Turner Broadcasting System, she navigated the corporate communications division, affiliated with CNN. Armed with a psychology degree, she later pursued a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. Transitioning to equine clinical practice, she eventually made her mark in New Zealand in 2005. Over eight years, she served as a veterinary technical supervisor for the Ministry for Primary Industries and earned a Master of Philosophy from Massey University. Her multifaceted role at Greenlea Premier Meats as a Business Development Manager encompasses strategy, value-added ventures, sustainability, marketing, and policy. She brings executive leadership experience, having served on the New Zealand Veterinary Association board. Discover more at https://www.greenlea.co.nz/.

Richard Fowler

Farmers Finding the Sweet Zone – What is Richard doing to adapt to change – thinking 10 years ahead
Richard is a third generation Bay of Plenty farmer. He grew up on a post WWII ballot farm in Paengaroa where his parents still live. Along with his wife Amy, they now farm dairy, beef and forestry on four separate blocks throughout the Bay. Prior to hands-on farming, Richard worked for Landcorp as an operations manager which was a great foundation to learn about farm systems and see the country. Over the years he’s tried to give back to industry groups such as Young Farmers, Dairy Industry Awards, Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb. In 2016, Richard received a Nuffield Scholarship which entailed traveling the world for three months, studying primary industry with a focus on the emergence of “Synthetic Foods”. Richard and Amy now spend their days trying to maintain and grow their farming business while navigating inflation, regulations, land use change, succession and three teenage kids.

John Burke 

Nature Positive Farming - The 20 Journey towards lower footprint farming at Pukekauri
John, former CEO and shareholder of Te Awanui Huka Pak, brings agri-business acumen. He managed the Kiwifruit Vine Health body against Psa threats and led a Comvita NZ project proving Manuka plantation viability. Currently, a gold kiwifruit grower, John Jointly owns Pukekauri Farms with his brother Rick Burke, an award-winning environmental farm. John co-produced a resource promoting low-cost reforestation of farmland. Engaged in environmental restoration, he contributes to projects like Project Parore and Wai Kōkopu, focusing on catchment improvements for Little Waihi Estuary.

Dayna Rowe

Connecting Communities through our Farms
Dayna grew up on the family Dairy farm, went to university to study acting but was called back to the land very quickly. She is now contract milking with her Fiancé Sam on the family farm. She has won Dairy Industry Awards and is part of DEL (New Zealand Dairy Environment Leaders). Dayna and her partner Sam and are working towards a future of farming that practices classic rural community ethics. Community environmental projects, community growing and producing food for one another, taking pride in our land, taking care of our teams.

Rob Mc Gowan (Pa Ropata) 

The Interconnectedness of our Systems and the concept of Recloaking Papatuanuku
Rob McGowan QSM would like New Zealanders to be more connected to their land – its trees, plants, birds and animals. It’s been his mission for decades, and he says now more than ever we need to pay attention to what we’re doing to mother Earth.

“Heal the land,” he says, “and you heal the people.” Rob (known as Pa Ropata to many) is a founding member of Tāne’s Tree Trust, has long worked for DoC’s Ngā Whenua Rahui unit, which works to protect indigenous ecosystems on Māori-owned land, and for more than 30 years he’s been a teacher of rongoā Māori.

Last year Rob was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for his services to Māori and conservation.

Dr Kit Rutherford

Using catchment models to bring the community and councils together
Kit is a scientist emeritus at NIWA and bring 45 years’ experience researching mathematical models of how aquatic ecosystems systems are affected by polluting discharges and land runoff, planning and participation in experimental work to support modelling, and commercial application of these skills in environmental impact appraisal for river, lake and estuarine ecology. He and his wife run a 40ha drystock farm in the Ohiwia subcatchment in the Hawkes Bay.

Te Kapunga Dewes

Integration of Economically Feasible Production and/or Carbon Forests into Farming Landscapes
Te Kapunga (T.K) Dewes of Ngati Porou, Te Arawa and Te Whakatohea has twenty years’ senior management experience in the forestry, wood processing, and manufacturing sectors. Te Kapunga is currently CEO of both Whenua Oho, a Māori landowner advisory, advocacy, and consultancy service; and Interpine Innovation, shaping today’s forests with tomorrow’s technology. Te Kapunga is on a number of Māori Trusts, government advisory groups, and is Chair of Nga Pou a Tane – The National Māori Forestry Association. He is passionate about creating economically feasible opportunities for Māori Landowners in forestry, and under his leadership, Whenua Oho, Interpine, and Nga Pou a Tane have become a driving force for indigenous entrepreneurship in forestry and climate change pathways.

Jacqui Macalister  

Markets and finance: The global perspective and how banks are supporting farmers.  
Jacqui is a collaborative, mission-driven leader with two decades experience leading sustainability transitions in the finance and business sectors.  She is passionate about sustainable food production, having led the sustainability function at several multi-national businesses, serving on the management team of IKEA Food in Sweden and leading sustainability across McDonald’s European supply chain.   Her current focus is on sustainable finance transactions and supporting BNZ institutional customers to embed climate and nature positive practices.  She also serves as an advisor to the board of Cook Brothers Construction. She believes the climate transition and nature agenda require transformational change across all businesses, sectors, and economies.

She has a Masters in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge and holds undergraduate degrees in Law and Commerce from Otago University.  

Helen Beattie 

A Good Life for All - the interconnected welfare of everything
Helen was the NZ Vet Association’s Chief Veterinary Officer – At the NZVA , her role was one of national level advocacy, leadership and politicking on behalf of the veterinary profession and for animal welfare. Helen leads Veterinarians for Animals Welfare Aotearoa. The organisation provides a veterinary-led, science-backed, independent advocacy voice on animal welfare.

Hon Mark Patterson

Ministers Address
Mark Patterson is the Minister for Rural Communities and Associate Minister of Agriculture and entered Parliament in 2017. Mr Patterson

is an Otago farmer with over 30 years of personal farming experience under his belt and was Chairperson for Otago Federated Farmers from 2021-2023.Mark and his wife Jude farm sheep and beef at Lawrence and Waitahuna and have two daughters.


During the summit, we received a wave of insightful questions from participants. Unfortunately, we couldn't address them all during the event, so we collected them to get responses from our speakers afterward. Below, you'll find a selection of these questions along with their answers. Dive in to see the thought-provoking discussions sparked by our attendees.

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