Southland woman wins dairy community leadership award
For Katrina Thomas, helping out in the community is something that is in her blood.
On Thursday night Thomas won the Dairy Women's Network Dairy Community Leadership award.
Thomas received the award at a gala dinner held in Queenstown as part of the Dairy Women's Network's annual conference.
She was one of three nominees, which included dairy farmers Alison Ferris, from Te Kuiti, and Cathy Prendergast, from Arohena in Waikato.
The award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate.
When Thomas accepted the award in front of the audience, tears kept flowing, she said.
"I didn't think I was such an emotional person."
Born and raised on a sheep farm in Tuatapere, she watched her mother and grandmother hard at work in the community.
"You just feel it's in the blood to give back."
Thomas and her husband James milk 840 cows in Wreys Bush.
They converted from sheep farming to dairy in 2011 and Thomas managed the conversion of the farm while being branch president of Central Southland Plunket.
Thomas is the network's Invercargill regional convener and helped set up a regional hub for the network for the Otago and Southland regions.
Dairy Women's Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers said Thomas puts her years of experience and knowledge to use well for benefit of her community.
Thomas was one of those people who could build great relationships wherever she goes and is always asking how she could, de Villers said.
"She embodies exactly what we look for in a dairy community leader, she's approachable and down-to-earth, but works hard and keeps the wheels turning."
Thomas received a scholarship for the Community Enterprise Leadership Foundation leadership programme, delivered in conjunction with the University of Waikato's management school.