Dr Roche takes up New Zealand role

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

AS Castleisland na­tive Dr John Roche was catch­ing up with fam­ily and friends dur­ing a re­cent visit home, things were mov­ing with great pace in his adopted home in New Zealand.

And it was while he was at home that he got an e-mail with a job of­fer he couldn’t refuse. The of­fer came di­rectly from the New Zealand govern­ment and from the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries, with which he will work for four days each week from early next month.

An­nounc­ing the ap­point­ment, the Pol­icy and Trade Branch of the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries ex­pressed its de­light that Dr Roche had been ap­pointed to its ranks:

“I am de­lighted to an­nounce that we have ap­pointed Dr John Roche as the new De­part­men­tal Sci­ence Ad­viser (DSA) for the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI). John will be with us four days a week com­menc­ing 11 June 2018.

“John has a very dis­tin­guished record as a sci­en­tist and re­searcher in in­dus­try and academia. He has a PhD in ru­mi­nant nutri­tion from the Na­tional Univer­sity of Ire­land and has most re­cently worked as a prin­ci­pal sci­en­tist at DairyNZ, and ad­junct pro­fes­sor in an­i­mal sci­ence at Lin­coln Univer­sity.

“John will be pro­vid­ing strate­gic sci­ence ad­vice across MPI as well as pro­vid­ing an im­por­tant con­nec­tion into the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional sci­ence com­mu­ni­ties, the broader pri­mary sec­tor, and lo­cal and cen­tral govern­ment.

“We are look­ing for­ward to hav­ing John on board and work­ing with him over the next three years shap­ing New Zealand’s pri­mary sec­tors,” the state­ment con­cluded.

John’s ap­point­ment was no shot in the dark by the NZ govern­ment. They had his cre­den­tials as he worked ex­ten­sively in Aus­tralia and New Zealand pre­vi­ously.

In fact, this Septem­ber, he’ll be out of Ire­land as long as he’s been liv­ing here. He flew to Aus­tralia in 1995 and spent five years work­ing with the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture there.

His first taste of New Zealand came in 2000 when he went there to join the Dairy Re­search Cor­po­ra­tion. After spend­ing six years in that post, John was of­fered an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor­ship at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia.

At around this time he set up his own con­sul­tancy busi­ness Down to Earth Ad­vice Ltd and its in­flu­ence has reached across many bor­ders and as far away as parts of South Amer­ica.

Two years in Tas­ma­nia and the al­ways clued-in John saw that things were hap­pen­ing in New Zealand that he liked, and he and his wife de­cided to go back. I ven­tured that it was a nice change for an Ir­ish­man to be in­vited to Tas­ma­nia rather than be­ing sent to the for­merly named Van Diemen’s Land.

“My great grand­fa­ther went out there in the 1870s – vol­un­tar­ily,” he has­tened to add, “and it took him weeks to get there. Now we have all the com­forts of home as we travel – and the world is a much smaller place th­ese days.”

A past pupil of three of Castleisland’s schools – Pre­sen­ta­tion Con­vent Pri­mary; The Boys’ Na­tional School and St Pa­trick’s Boys’ Sec­ondary School – UCD fol­lowed and a Masters De­gree from Moorepark set him on his cur­rent ca­reer path. The day we met at the home of his par­ents, John­nie and Sheila in Firies, we were in the mid­dle of a week and a half of heavy rain. The farm­ing fod­der cri­sis was the head­line grab­ber on all the news bul­letins and the weather fore­cast held no prom­ise.

“Ir­ish peo­ple are the best in the world for tak­ing life as they find it and hav­ing the craic. There’s no other coun­try in the world like it from that per­spec­tive. But I couldn’t put up with the long win­ters here and I cer­tainly don’t miss this,” said John as he ges­tured to the win­dow and the driv­ing rain beat­ing against it.

Did grow­ing up on a farm in­flu­ence his path in life?

“Oh of course it did,” he an­swered with­out hes­i­ta­tion. “I re­mem­ber I was set to go to Chicago to play foot­ball with a team over there. If I did I would have missed out on Moorepark. My fa­ther guided me away from the foot­ball and back towards ed­u­ca­tion and the greater prospects of a ca­reer.

“In fair­ness to him he was ab­so­lutely right. Moorepark is a font of knowl­edge for young Ir­ish farm­ers since it was set up in 1959 and I be­lieve it’s even bet­ter to­day.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the new chal­lenges ahead in New Zealand as the job has a very broad scope. I get paid to act like a child re­ally – be cu­ri­ous and ask ques­tions,” said Dr Roche in his ‘Down to Earth’ as­sess­ment of his im­por­tant new role in his adopted home.

Photo by John Reidy.

On the Land: Sci­en­tist Dr John Roche pic­tured dur­ing a re­cent visit to the home farm in Castleisland from his adopted New Zealand.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.