Executive Committee Update | Issue 199

May 17, 2024


A New SAP Chair

As the outgoing Selection and Appointment Panel (SAP) Chair, I would like to welcome William Oliver into the position. I have enjoyed the role and leadership opportunity over the past two years and would like to thank all those SAP members, past and current, for the support they have given me. Against a background of a significant and ongoing NZDFA workload, it made sense to pass the baton now, with a new round of selection and appointment beginning.

William has a lot of experience in governance, including two terms on the DINZ Board, and will continue to ensure that deer farmers are well represented on the DINZ board by ensuring that the appointment process remains robust.

The members of the SAP (the four elected NZFDA Executive Committee members and four other elected deer farmers and DFA members) have the responsibility of interviewing and appointing the producer representatives to the DINZ Board. The interviews of those who have been nominated occur in June each year in front of the eight SAP member panel. The SAP process is integral in ensuring the selection of the candidate most suited to represent deer farmer interests at the highest governance level.

- Karen Middelberg, NZDFA Executive Committee

In NO vation

I have been told it is a bit of a tradition that outgoing NZDFA Executive members get a bit of a free licence on the final Executive report when they exit. I am more than happy to take advantage of that and run with it and I would like to prevail upon your reading time and encourage you to think about innovation.

Innovation has been my career; I have always been an innovator as long as I can remember and have been fortunate enough to be able to apply my innovative tendencies to my work and hopefully the good of the New Zealand deer industry. New Zealand agriculture and the deer industry were built on innovation, but right now I feel that we are lacking in innovation. Innovation is a creative skill, talent, and activity it requires space to thrive and the freedom to breathe and be expressed.

Right now, I believe one of New Zealand’s biggest challenges is that we have stifled innovation. Innovation has been strangled and smothered by process. Somewhere in our relatively recent past process has been allowed to dominate our national landscape and workplaces. Process and policy seem now to dominate most workplaces and many businesses and workers have been forced from the creative innovative space into a reactive preservationist one. We have all gone into a defensive mode and are no longer looking to innovation to drive our businesses and economy. Much of this process seems to be justified by ideology, ideologies do not create meaningful or positive transformational change ideas do!

Take a look globally, who are the mega companies dominating the global economy? They are innovation companies, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Tesla, Apple and the likes. You might think of them as technology companies, but at the heart of them innovation and invention drive them. These companies did not cede to process, process is simply a part of successful implementation and delivery, it does not drive success. Neither does policy drive success, it creates boundaries, but it can also if we retain the right mindset drive innovation, usually this tends to be how to avoid or get around policy!

I am extremely disappointed in the New Zealand response to climate change; it has largely been around policy and process. There has been lip service given to innovation, but very little tangible active encouragement, or support to individuals or businesses attempting to tackle it with genuine innovation. Further deepening our problems is that most of us have outsourced our innovation, primarily to cheap imports, somebody else’s technology, or worse, somebody else’s ideology.

For our industry and New Zealand to make the transformational changes it needs to make our lives, country, and planet better. We need more people to give themselves permission to innovate. Don’t let your first response be to circle the wagons, that’s 1900’s innovation. Respond to challenges, threats, and opportunities with innovation. Take a pause, a breath, and clear your mind, go for a walk, run, ride, swim, surf, beer, whatever and let your brain wander back into that innovative place that created a whole new industry and the amazing products that it produces. Tell the process people “thank you very much, but no thank you, you don’t need any of their lists, rules, forms, or tick boxes today.”

We are approaching the 50th Year of the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association next year, an association born of innovators, by innovators, with an innovative solution to a problem of dealing with Government, for an innovative industry. Please be free to innovate, do it to shift us all forward to meaningful change and to celebrate all of the innovative pioneers that created this industry. Passion can only get us so far; we need to use the remarkable intellectual capital that this industry has once again to be world leading and cutting edge. Don’t let the Process win, process has never won a war before, but innovation has won most of them! Deer farmers brains are their greatest asset unleash them.

Jamie Ward, Outgoing NZDFA Executive Committee

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