Couple of champions
South Waikato dairy farmers Eddie and Anne White, of Putaruru, are soon to embark on a whirlwind trip to Malaysia as Fonterra Champions.
After outshining fellow shareholders in Fonterra’s recent 100 word competition, the couple flew out to Kuala Lumpur last Friday with officials from Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd.
The couple will experience first hand the opportunities NZ dairy milk has created in Malaysia.
They will also spend time with All Black great and Fonterra Ambassador Richie McCaw.
The rural caretakers of 110ha and 50ha farms, which are home to a dairy herd of 340, started out as sharemilkers.
The third- generation farmers are looking forward the most to meeting Richie McCaw and learning more about Malaysia, Fonterra’s activities, and experiencing a different culture.
‘‘We are absolutely looking forward to it. It will be fantastic to meet Richie McCaw, who is an absolute legend,’’ he said.
Mr White admits their six children, Bridget, Sinead, Conor, Therese, Roisin, and Edmund are jealous of their parents getting to meet the All Black.
Mr White said he rushed the 100 word winning entry one evening.
‘‘It has all happened very fast,’’ he said.
He wasn’t sure why they were chosen but felt their family’s involvement on the farm and in the community may have had something to do with it.
‘‘ You had to write 100 words on why you thought you were a Fonterra Champion. It was about your values and attitudes towards being good caretakers of the land.
‘‘ We are not corporate farmers. That was the thing about the competition, it was worded quite well. You didn’t have to be the biggest or flashest.
‘‘ I think the fact I am involved with the local rugby club helped; Anne and I are both involved in a lot of things in the community.
‘‘Our family is a part of Eddie and Anne White, centre, celebrate their new title of Fonterra Champions on the Putaruru family farm with four of their children, Therese, Edmund, Roisin and Conor. our community and get involved.’’
‘‘We are slightly nervous about the heat. It is 35 degrees over there at the moment.’’
While the privileged pair are away, it will be business as usual on the farm, with assistant manager Donald Reid taking care of the artificial breeding and a relief milker filling in at the cowshed.
Fonterra Director of Cooperative Affairs Todd Muller said the company was highly impressed by the calibre of each of the 300 Fonterra shareholder entrants. ‘‘We could have no better couple to champion Fonterra.
‘‘They still find time to be actively involved in their local community, where they’re regarded as unsung heroes.’’
Libby Kissick is a Wintec journalism student.