Man­ager cy­cles for com­mu­nity

South Waikato News - - Out & About - LUKE KIRKEBY

The Ware­house Toko­roa’s as­sis­tant store man­ager may be one of the store’s newer staff mem­bers but that hasn’t stopped him from giv­ing back.

On Satur­day morn­ing amid thick fog 23-year-old Te Whata Nepia set off on a 66 kilo­me­tre cy­cling jour­ney from Toko­roa to Taupo as part of the na­tional Pedal for Plun­ket fundraiser.

Each of The Ware­house stores through­out the coun­try has al­lo­cated team lead­ers to take part in the cy­cling fundraiser which is see­ing them, along with Plun­ket staff and other sup­port­ers, cy­cling the length of the coun­try through­out March to raise aware­ness and funds for Plun­ket’s com­mu­nity work.

The fact that Nepia has only been work­ing at the Toko­roa store for five months made no dif­fer­ence when he de­cided to put his hand up for the Toko­roa to Taupo league of the chal­lenge.

‘‘I did it to sup­port the Toko­roa com­mu­nity,’’ he said.

He was joined by a friend and plun­ket staff for the jour­ney which was the sec­ond Pedal for Plun­ket event he has taken part in.

‘‘I did the Pedal for Plun­ket three years ago when I cy­cled from Taupo to Tu­rangi but this ride was a bit more ad­vanced,’’ he laughed.

‘‘I was ex­cited though be­cause I had spent a long time train­ing for it do­ing 40 to 50km rides once a week.’’

He was given a spe­cial Cook Is­land send off with dancers and a mas­sive break­fast in The Ware­house’s carpark.

Store man­ager Ja­son An­der­son said he was proud of Nepia.

‘‘Some­one from the store had to put there hand up for it and I am not in the shape for it but Te Whata de­cided to do it even though it was on his day off,’’ he said.

‘‘Toko­roa is cul­tur­ally very di­verse and all those cul­tures need Plun­ket’s help and sup­port so it re­ally does mean a lot to the com­mu­nity.’’

He said it was tes­ti­mony of Nepia’s good char­ac­ter.

‘‘He is only young and we are re­ally proud of how far he has come up in the com­pany so quickly,’’ he said.

Two weeks into the fundraiser The Ware­house Toko­roa has al­ready raised $2,700 from in­store do­na­tions which will go towards Plun­ket’s goal of beat­ing last year’s na­tional to­tal of $297,000.

Riders have been mak­ing stops at 88 The Ware­house stores and will fin­ish up to­mor­row. Po­ten­tial de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the tra­di­tional pro­gres­sion path­way for herd man­agers, con­tract milk­ers and sharemilk­ers to land own­er­ship has prompted a se­ries of three con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings.

The Waikato Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Farm Owner Sharemilker Em­ployer Sec­tion chair­man John Nu­man came up with the ini­tia­tive.

‘‘With a de­clin­ing num­ber of 50/50 sharemilk­ing agree­ments be­com­ing avail­able, I just thought it was time we had a con­ver­sa­tion with the peo­ple who of­fer those po­si­tions.

‘‘We need to ask them, hear their voice, rather than make as­sump­tions,’’ Mr Nu­man said.

The meet­ings are in­tended only for landown­ers/con­tract and sharemilker em­ploy­ers rather than all in­ter­ested dairy part­ners.

‘‘It needs to be a non­threat­en­ing en­vi­ron­ment where we can cre­ate some hon­est and open com­mu­ni­ca­tion.’’

One school of thought is that if fewer share and con­tract milk­ers out­side of eq­uity part­ner­ships get the chance to work up to own­ing their own farms, there are im­pli­ca­tions for in­creased over­seas in­vest­ment and own­er­ship.

The meet­ing with dairy farm own­ers will be held in Pu­taruru, at the Cen­tral Kids Kinder­garten As­so­ci­a­tion, 6 Glen­shea St, Pu­taruru, on Wed­nes­day, March 29 at 7pm.

LUKE KIRKEBY/FAIRFAX NZ

The Ware­house Toko­roa as­sis­tant store man­ager Te Whata Nepia gets set for his Plun­ket ride.

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