Cathy Prendergast

Cathy Prendergast

Master of Business Administration

Waikato Management School

Waikato MBA student Cathy Prendergast has been named as a finalist in the Dairy Women's Network Community Leadership Award 2017.

Cathy has just completed her first year of a Master of Business Administration degree at Waikato Management School.

The award seeks to honour the unsung heroes of rural communities. It recognises the voluntary role that dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate.

This year’s award will be presented at the annual Dairy Women's Network conference in Queenstown, on 11-12 May.

Cathy farms with her husband Nick at Arohena, between Te Awamutu and Mangakino.

As well as being a registered nurse, she is involved in most of Arohena’s community groups, including the playcentre, school, church, and has been part of the Arohena Rural Women Committee for 30 years.

The passion she has for her community, and agriculture in general, makes community involvement fun, says Cathy. "It's not a job for me at all; I genuinely enjoy giving back to my community. I feel like I've got so much out of living here; I've spent most of my life here and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else."

The other award finalists are Alison Ferris, who lives on a 500-cow dairy farm outside Te Kuiti, and Katrina Thomas, a dairy farmer from Southland. The award includes a scholarship prize to attend a leadership programme.

“I have often said that our dairy communities are supported by people just like Cathy, Katrina and Alison,” says DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers.

“In any rural community you have those special people who keep the wheels of groups and initiatives turning, while continuing to milk the cows and raise families. While it may seem effortless from the outside, we know there’s a huge amount of work and dedication there, and too often it goes unrecognised.”

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