Winner of the 2022 NZ Dairy Event Outstanding Achievement and Service Award, Wendy Harker, is a “truly deserving recipient” of the award, according to her peers.
“Wendy has – and is still – providing outstanding service to the New Zealand dairy industry,” NZDE Co-Chair Lawrence Satherley said, presenting Wendy with her award at the 2022 Holstein Friesian NZ Awards.
“She combines her love of animals and breeding with the show ring and an industry that she is passionate about. Her skills are wide and varied, making her a passionate all-rounder and advocate for all New Zealand farmers, regardless of breed.”
Wendy is a born and bred dairy farmer, with her parents Ken and Betty Baker heavily involved in the industry; Wendy inherited her father’s passion for breeding animals.
Wendy joined Holstein Friesian NZ in August 1990 and registered the Westell stud name at this time. Wendy’s contribution to the Holstein Friesian breed and the wider New Zealand dairy industry has been huge throughout her 32-year membership, with her outstanding mentorship of young breeders at the forefront.
“Wendy’s support, development and mentorship of young breeders is what she is known for,” Lawrence said.
“There are many young breeders that wouldn’t be where they are today without Wendy’s dedication to them and their roles within the dairy industry.”
Over the years the Harker farm has hosted numerous calf club training days, teaching young kids and their parents the rudiments of preparing calves for calf club and moving on to the show ring.
These days led on to numerous Black & White Youth events for young breeders, teaching them animal care, nutrition, show responsibility and providing encouragement.
“Wendy is extremely generous with her time and gains a great deal of pride from the young people she works with,” Lawrence said.
In addition to her 32 years as a HFNZ member, Wendy has been an HFNZ Board member for 13 years, holding the positions of HFNZ President from 2015-2018 (the first woman President in the 112-year history of the Association) and HFNZ Treasurer from 2019 to 2022.
She was awarded an HFNZ Honorary Life Membership in 2019. Wendy has also served on numerous Commitees since 2009, including Chairing the HFNZ Discovery Project Committee Chair from 2011-2016 and 2019, and Chairing the Black & White Youth Committee. She was instrumental in the development of the World Wide Sires National All Dairy Breeds Youth Camp, which has been running for eight years; the 2022 camp was hosted by Wendy and her husband David at their Te Awamutu property.
She has been a HFNZ TOP Inspector since 2004; HFNZ Representative on the NZ Dairy Breeds Federation from 2010 to current; HFNZ & NZ Dairy Breeds Federation representative on the TOP Advisory Committee from 2012 to current; Waipa Holstein Friesian Club member for 20 plus years, during which time she has held many positions within the club; HFNZ Waikato Branch member for many years, having held the position of Branch Treasurer; member of the NZAEL Farmer Advisory Panel that advises the NZAEL Board on reviews of the National Breeding Index (NBO) and Breeding Worth (BW); HFNZ Senior Judge, retiring in 2021, and HFNZ representative to the 2012 and 2016 World Holstein Friesian Conferences in Canada and Argentina.
Wendy said it was an honour to be recognised for the Special Award. “I am a small part of a bigger teamworking in the background to help the industry,” she said. “I would also like to recognise David’s input, because I couldn’t have done this without him.”