Rural honours

January 13, 2016

The New Years Honours list included several awards to rural people.

Oamaru-born and Hakataramea raised, Richie McCaw was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Champion shearer David Fagan became Te Kuiti’s second knight:

. . . “Obviously we’ve got the main man, Sir Colin Meads. We’re all very proud of Colin and what he’s done,” said Sir David. . . 

Sir David received a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit on the 2016 New Year’s honours list for services to shearing.

He’s a 16 times Golden Shears champion, living legend, household name, former shearing contractor, farmer, 1999 Member and 2007 Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, 10 times world record holder and a terrific bloke.

The 54-year old’s longevity in the gruelling sport would have the best commentators gushing with superlatives.

Blow after blow down the woolly flanks of thousands of sheep, litres of sweat soaked into hundred of black singlets and hour upon hour with back arched over ewe, ram and lamb – Sir David’s feats have been called incredible and amazing.

His first New Zealand Golden Shears win was in 1986 and he reigned supreme from 1990 to 2001 winning 12 straight titles. . . 

Sports writer Joseph Romanos writes:

Fagan won 16 Golden Shears crowns (the Wimbledon of his sport), plus 11 world titles. . . 

I once asked farmer and former All Black captain Brian Lochore how shearing compared with rugby as a sport.

“Shearing at the pace they do in competition is very, very difficult,” he said. “There’s the hand-eye co-ordination and the whole body has to be working.

“You’re holding the sheep with your legs and your concentration has to be full-on. At that speed, if you make one slip, you’re gone.

“It’s physically very gruelling and then having to bend over like that makes it even tougher. David Fagan is up there with our greatest sportsmen.”

Fagan has been a superlative competitor, always able to find a way to win – the mark of a champion. . . 

From Shearing Sports NZ:

A wave of global congratulation has followed the announcement that Te Kuiti shearing legend David Fagan became a Knight in the New Year Honours.

Shearing Sports New Zealand’s first facebook post soon after the Thursday 5am announcement, confirming its chairman is now Sir David Fagan, reached 2000 people in less than an hour before most of New Zealand had awoken to the news, and more than 40,000 in less than 48 hours.

The regard for the five times World individual champion and winner of 642 finals in an international Open-class competition career spanning 33 years, was highlighted by Wales team manager Martyn David, soon to bring a team to New Zealand.

Almost 150 of the wins were in the UK, where Sir David, 54, bowed-out in a 2-all drawn series against Wales last July. . . 

John Lee  became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

John Lee has devoted his life to ensuring a sustainable future for his beloved Cardrona Valley.

That dedication has been rewarded with the highest New Year Honour for an Otago person this year, with Mr Lee (79) being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Now living in Wanaka, Mr Lee said he had long been fascinated by the valley’s rich gold-mining heritage. But he regretted the gold extracted had been taken from the district, most likely heading north to benefit Auckland.

As a young farmer, he vowed every dollar he could get his hands on would be invested back into the valley, Mr Lee said.

That aim has been realised in the form of his successful snow-based businesses in the valley, which help underpin the local economies of Queenstown and Wanaka, injecting millions of dollars annually. . . 

Brian Anderton became an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit:

Mr Anderton (78) was born to be involved in thoroughbred racing.

His father Hector and mother Alice were household names in thoroughbred racing across New Zealand and Mr Anderton rode his first winner, White Robe, when he was aged just 13.

He started his stud, White Robe Lodge, in Wingatui six years later, then moved it to North Taieri in 1981, where he and son Shane still train.

The pair have trained 815 winners together, after teaming up in the 1993-94 season. Mr Anderton won 608 races before the partnership, having gained his licence to train in the 1967-68 season. . . 

Andrew McEwen was recognised for his services to forestry:

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) is pleased to note the recognition of the importance of forestry within the New Year Honours list. Andrew McEwen, immediate past president of NZIF received an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to forestry.

“Andrew has worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of forestry for all of New Zealand” says President of NZIF James Treadwell.

“Throughout his career Andrew has informed and promoted the direct and wider benefits of all forms of forestry. He has long championed the need for better scientific understanding and professional management of the role of forestry, whether for conservation and biodiversity values of native forests or as plantation-sourced climate friendly and renewable fuel, packaging or building materials.” . . 

Jonathon Kirk  was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit  for services of agriculture:

. . .The 65-year-old Waimate farmer was ‘‘absolutely amazed and quite honoured” to have been recognised in the New Year Honours.

In 1998, Mr Kirk invented the K-Line Spray Irrigation System – a flexible pipe with a series of plastic pods housing sprinkler nozzles that could be towed behind a vehicle.

Previous schemes, such as the border dyke irrigation system, had been inefficient and often wasteful of water, he said.

He saw an opportunity to develop a low-cost option, particularly suited to farms that were not suitable for a centre pivot or travelling irrigators. . . 

Lindy Nelson became a Member of the NZ Order of Merit:

. . .Narrowing down who nominated her wouldn’t be easy, as the Agri-Women’s Development Trust she founded and is the executive director of has changed many lives. 

The trust works to develop leadership, business and governance competencies of women in New Zealand agriculture.

Nelson said the idea for the trust came from her own life experience, marrying a farmer and living in a rural community. 

She noticed a lack of women in agricultural leadership roles and when she started researching said she met some amazing women, but also some who didn’t appreciate and recognise the skills they had and how they could be utilised. 

So she officially launched the trust in 2010 and spent the following two years working upwards of 80 hours a week as an unpaid executive to help create the programmes  and bringing strategic partners on board.  . . 

 


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