Justine Kidd, who lives in Takapau, has contributed widely to New Zealand's dairy industry for more than 20 years.

These efforts along with her services to equestrian sports have seen her made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Ms Kidd's work has traversed farm business consulting, farm ownership and property development, dairy production research, corporate farming leadership and governance.

In Central Hawke's Bay she spent eight years with BEL Group Dairy Farming, as chief executive leading the business that milks 9500 cows and employs 65 people, following the death of owner Peter Barry.


She stepped down in June this year, and among other roles, she now operates her own business, Kitahi, aimed at investigating ways for farmers to access the market and realise the value of the farmers' stories.

"It's a vehicle for me to look at partnerships, business models and opportunities for primary producers to get close to the market and grow product value."

She also provides strategic consulting for business projects such as the Organic Dairy Hub, and in November this year was appointed chief executive - agribusiness of Chinese-owned Milk New Zealand Management Ltd.

Made up primarily of two dairy farming businesses, one in the North Island and one in the South Island, both milking 13,000 cows, her role will see her involved in moving the two businesses together to form a national structure, and again link the farmer to the consumer.

In addition, she has worked with the Bank of New Zealand to develop its Farm First Growth Programme and Dairy New Zealand to create a farm governance programme.

She said she "fell into" the dairy industry after she left university, and found her feet there in her early career, making the most of the opportunities and networking as she went along.

She was also very involved in equestrian sports where she was chef d'equipe for the New Zealand Dressage Young Rider Programme and Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance manager for the 2004 Olympic Games.

She was the chief executive of Equestrian Sports New Zealand from 2004 to 2007 and has also held governance roles with Eventing New Zealand, Equestrian Sports New Zealand and Horse of the Year HB Ltd.