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Dr Warren Parker recognised with New Zealand’s Primary Industries Champion Award

02 July 2024

The late Dr Warren Parker was recognised for his lifetime of dedication to the primary sector with the New Zealand Primary Industries Champion Award yesterday.

The award entry was submitted by Pāmu Farms of New Zealand in collaboration with stalwarts of the industry who had worked with Dr Parker over the years, including Rob Hewett, Chair of Farmlands; Andrew MacPherson, Chair of Focus Genetics; Tim Payn, Scion Research; Richard Gordon, then CE of Manaaki Whenua; Robert Anderson, Massey University; and others.

The highly respected Dr Warren Parker was the Chair of Pāmu until his sudden passing in December 2023. Mark Leslie, CEO of Pāmu, said that Dr Parker was held in high esteem across the sector, government, and education. 

“Warren knew the primary industries at all levels,” said Mr Leslie. “He was a unique individual who encouraged others and worked hard on many things important to New Zealand agriculture – often the difficult tasks but also the right ones. He exemplified the Pāmu values of grounded, bold, shoulder-to-shoulder, and genuine.”

Dr Parker’s agricultural knowledge has been described as encyclopaedic. A particular strength was his understanding of and views on carbon and emissions. Of immense benefit to the boards he chaired, he could distil complex issues into simple, easily digested chunks of relevant information and make a convincing argument.

Warren had a passion for leaving the environment better for future generations and sharing his knowledge and wisdom through mentoring.

“Warren had a passion for leaving the environment better for future generations and sharing his knowledge and wisdom through mentoring. We would talk about the fact that Pāmu was able to trial ideas to solve agricultural challenges, striving towards a greater vision for Aotearoa, and then share the learnings with neighbours and industry with warmth and humility. It spoke to the person Warren was,” Mr Leslie said.

Mr Leslie said Dr Parker could relate to anyone. He would sit and chat with a farm manager over a cup of tea in their kitchen, while also advising the highest levels of primary sector governance. Mr Leslie said his warmth and kindness also shone through when Cyclone Gabrielle hit, seriously impacting several Pāmu farms on the East Coast.

Warren held many positions of influence over the years including former chief executive of Scion (Forest Research Institute) and Manaaki Whenua - Land Care Research, and previously chief operating officer of AgResearch. He held board roles on Genomics Aotearoa, Farmlands Co-operative Society, Predator Free 2050, was chair of the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group, the NZ Conservation Authority, and recently appointed independent chair of Quayside Holdings.

Warren held a PhD in animal science and was previously a professor of Agribusiness and Resource Management at Massey University, where he spent 18 years in various roles including supervising the 9000 SU Riverside Farm in Wairarapa.

With this award, Warren is remembered for his natural leadership, insightful brilliance, candour, conversations on-farm, and kindness. An academic in red-band gummies.


For further information contact:

Kara Tait, Head of Comms & Engagement, Pāmu +64 21 240 7827

About Pāmu

Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp Farming Limited, a State-Owned Enterprise with more than 100 farms across the motu. 

Pāmu exists today to enhance the future of agriculture for generations of New Zealanders to come, return land under Te Tiriti o Waitangi settlements, and produce a financial return.

Pāmu strives for farming excellence. We are focused on running a profitable and efficient business, with an emphasis on innovating to be a sustainable, safe and responsible employer. 

As a State-Owned Enterprise, we are expected to be an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the communities in which we operate.