Honours earned and deserved

ANZCO chair Graeme Harrison has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

It is worthy recognition for his contribution to agri-business.

He is not only a leader in his business. His views on the meat industry as a whole are among few which show real understanding of its complexity and his passion for agriculture is unquestioned.

Another meat industry leader, former Alliance Group chair and Southland farmer John Turner was made an Officer of the Order of Merit.

Chairman of the Alliance Group from 1998 to 2007 and director from 1987 to 2007, Mr Turner guided the company through a financial recovery to make it the world’s largest sheepmeat processor and marketer, with a turnover of more than $1 billion.

He has been a strong advocate for the co-operative principles of ownership allowing farmers to become involved in the meat industry beyond the farm gate, encouraging them to become knowledgeable about the end user of their products and thus ensuring quality.

During his time as chairman he initiated a range of programmes encouraging farmers to be on the leading edge in the production and quality of their product and was renowned for his ability to examine situations from many angles and make sound commercial decisions.

Sheep milking pioneer Keith Neylon was also made a Member of the Order of Merit.

Another worthy recipeint of an honour was stone mason Bill Dooley who was made a member of the Order of Merit for his contribution to the restoration of historic buildings:

Mr Dooley is the head of Dooleys Masonry, the Ouse St business that has spread its influence around the globe.

He has been a stonemason all his working life, learning the trade from his father and grandfather. Although he turns 80 next month, Mr Dooley has not yet retired. However, he says he “probably” will at some stage.

Sadly Des Templeton of Riverton who was awarded a Queens Service Medal died last week. The award was made for his contribution to the flax industry.

Des Templeton may have died too soon but not before he turned his family business, a flaxmill operating at Otaitai Bush, into a scenic wonder of Southland, a museum of national significance as the only original flaxmill in New Zealand operating on its original site.

Some sneer at honours. I know enough about the work each of these men has done to be confident the awards have been earned and are deserved.

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