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Originally from South Africa, she and her partner milk 600 cows. In 2007, they were named Southland Sharemilker of the Year, before progressing to their current equity partnership.
A mother-of-three, Ms Manikam said she had a special interest in human behaviour and was dedicated to the development of the current and emerging leaders in the dairy industry.
That stemmed from her belief that people were the most important part of the industry, she said.
A former lawyer, she transitioned from dairy farming to leadership coaching after receiving her coach certification in 2012.
She was the founding director of Iceberg Coaching and a strategic consultant for Farmstrong, working to support the wellbeing of farming communities.
She is a trustee of the Southern Dairy Development Trust, a coach and facilitator of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator programme, and an executive member of Federated Farmers Southland.
Being nominated for Dairy Woman of the Year demonstrated the value and success of "ordinary" dairy farming women, she said.
"It shows that you can raise a family and still progress through the industry, reach the top, and have a say at industry level," she said.
The other finalists are Hawkes Bay dairy consultant Rachel Baker and Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis.