Josh Lavender was named the Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee
of the Year at the recent New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards
held in Gore. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
Josh Lavender, of Winton, did not get home from the New
Zealand Dairy Awards Southland-Otago regional awards in Gore
until 2am on Sunday, and then had to be up at 4.30am to do the
He had plenty to celebrate, as he was named the
Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.
''I was hoping to do well but I wasn't really expecting to
win,'' Mr Lavender said. ''It came as a bit of a shock but I
This was Mr Lavender's second time entering the awards and he
and partner Chantelle Ross were thrilled with the win.
''I want to thank my partner as I forgot to thank her on the
He is 2IC on Martin and Kim Axtens' Winton farm, milking 800
cows. In his second season in the industry, he will be farm
manager next season.
Second place went to Wyndham 2IC Ben Worker and third was
Winton assistant, Jeremy Anderson. He also won the DairyNZ
Practical Skills merit award.
Mr Lavender comes from a dairy-farming background and is
preparing for the national judging and that includes making a
''When I started with Martin and Kim two years ago, my plan
was to be 50/50 sharemilker in 10 years and own a farm in
He said he had read an article in 2011 in Southern Rural Life
about the Axtens, who were moving to equity partnership and
thought they would need staff, so he dropped off his CV.
''I have been working there for two years.
''I am passionate about the New Zealand dairy industry and
all it has to offer.
''I am always striving to achieve my goals as well as doing
what I can to ensure the positive image of the industry and
that it will continue to provide opportunity to others with
the passion and drive to make it a career.''
He is now studying the Primary ITO level 5 production
management paper; before that, he studied at Lincoln
University for his agricultural commerce degree.
- by Yvonne O'Hara