The NBR’s annual celebration of achievement will no doubt attract derision from the usual suspects who don’t understand wealth creation, what it takes and what it provides for others:
. . . New riches have been amassed, much of it self-made from creating businesses that employ thousands of people here and overseas. . .
The list attempts to quantify the value of people’s assets. It doesn’t measure the value their success provides for those they employ, for those who service and supply them and for the economic, environmental and social fabric of the country.
There might be an element of luck in any endeavour but the success this list celebrates owes far more to hard work, skill and the willingness to take risks.
Vicki Jayne, who led the team who put the list together, says:
“But in many ways the actual money is not that important. It’s the stories behind it and the fact that these people have achieved a high level of success. You don’t get the money unless you achieve at a high level in the area you are functioning. It’s very unlike winning Lotto.”
While we celebrate success in sport and the arts, the tall poppy choppers too often deride business success.
That’s a pity, not for the money made but for what it takes to make it and what the people who’ve got it do with it.
This year’s list includes farmers among the newcomers:
When it comes to promoting farming investment in New Zealand, Craigmore Sustainables chief executive Forbes Elworthy could hardly have a better pedigree.
Not only has his family farmed in the South Canterbury foothills for five generations but he can also boast a stellar career trajectory that suggests he knows a thing or two about business. . .
Craigmore Sustainables is now responsible for 40 New Zealand farms which, as the company name suggests, are being run according to a series of community, environmental and business principles that have sustainability at their core. . .
A regular speaker at global investment conferences, he champions New Zealand as a safe haven for farming investment and explains why his company emulates “family farmer behaviours” rather than being “too corporate” in its approach.
Three of Craigmore Sustainable’s farms are in our neighbourhood. They’ve made a big investment in improvements to the properties some of which have enhanced the part of the Alps to Ocean cycle way which goes through their land.
A little further north are the van Leeuwens:
Robots, rubber-floored stalls, cows that live indoors and choose when to be milked – South Canterbury farming couple Adriaan and Wilma van Leeuwen are busy pioneering new frontiers in New Zealand’s dairy industry.
Last year, they opened the world’s biggest ever robotic milking operation under one roof in the small settlement of Makikihi. They even have a plaque from global dairy solutions supplier DeLaval to commemorate the event – and it marks a step change in how farms in this country are managed.
A massive barn houses 1500 cows who decide for themselves when they will head off to one of the 24 robotic stalls for a quiet feed while their udders are automatically prepped and milked. No longer having to deal with inclement weather, the cows are more contented, production goes up and employment costs go down. It’s also easier on the environment – the effluent is collected and reapplied to the farm as fertiliser, thus helping to grow the crops needed to feed the herds and make the whole system self-sufficient. . .
Wilma was a finalist in this year’s Dairy Woman of the Year award.