‘It has always been about family’
A deep sense of family is at the heart of Laurence Walden’s progressive achievements within the dairy industry over a 14-year period.From a non-farming background in Rotorua, Lau-rence’s journey has taken him from dairy assistant to managing various farms in the Rotorua area, close to his family roots.
Engaged to manage Tauhara, a 1040 cow dairy unit owned by the Tauhara Moana Trust in 2015, Laurence’s farming skills and management ability were rewarded at the start to 2019/20 season with the additional responsibility of managing Moana, the partnership’s 1200 cow property across the road.
Long, narrow and divided by Broadlands Road, the farms are positioned between Mount Tauhara and Lake Rotokawa, just five minutes north of Taupo.
Reflecting on what has got him to where he is now, Laurence has no hesitation saying hard work and the support of his wife, Emma.“I’ve been able to do what I do knowing that the house and kids are being looked after – that’s a lot off my mind that I don’t have to worry about.”
With five children aged between 20 and 1, family has always been a big factor for Laurence and Emma. ‘Working from home’ has allowed Laurence to develop a special relationship with his children.
“For me it has always been about family. Your family is your drive – you go out and do good for your family so that they can do good too. The more I progress and do well the more I can provide for my family and put them in a better position to do what they need to do to be successful.”
Laurence’s latest achievement was winning the Central Plateau’s Dairy Industry Farm Manager of the Year award, and being placed third at National level.
Emma admits to encouraging her husband to enter the competition to keep him focused and achieving.“He had been on Tauhara for three seasons and things were going very well,” says Emma. “You could see the progression each year.
So we thought it was a good time to enter. On the night it was so nerve racking – I was just so excited for Laurie because I know how hard he has worked all these years for our family.”
Laurence says the preparation required for the awards and the on-farm presentation was a lot of work, but through the process both he and Emma learned a great deal about themselves and what they had to do to achieve personal and business goals.
“We have never looked into ourselves as much as we did for the awards. At the awards night my heart was jumping out of my mouth. It comes down to those family ties again – it meant that my family could see me doing good and I felt very proud. My parents were proud, my wife was proud of me.”
With a team of 10 staff reporting to him, Laurence says people management is one of the most challenging parts of the job but also one of the most rewarding and says you have to be a people person to do the job successfully.
“I think the main skill that I bring to this role is being a people person. I always want to lead by example for my kids, my wife, my staff and other young Maori out there that want to do something good as well. From winning those awards I have two people on my farm that are going to do the awards next year and I get a real kick out of that.”
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