purata juliet ceo



 Meet the passionate people who are leading the way to a better tomorrow.

Michael and Susie Woodward

Share Milker Tapatoru Dairies

When going into university out of high school, being involved in the dairy industry was the last thing on my mind. After a stint on a dairy farm for my practical work requirements I came back to complete my Diploma in Farm Management and managed to graduate as gold medallist.  I did try one or two other jobs after graduation but the dairy industry kept calling and it was easy to see a pathway to grow not only myself but my equity and possibly achieve farm ownership.

I started as farm assistant with Purata 2003 (then known as Synlait) and worked my way up the ranks on what was the largest farm  - Robindale Dairies, milking 3000 cows through an 80 bale rotary. Here I got to use what I had learnt during university and really accelerate my career.  By 2007 I was joint 2IC on this farm. It was at Robindale I met my wife Susie and later that year we went on to manage another farm in the group called Tapatoru, milking 1000 cows. A year and a half later we were given the opportunity to go back up to Robindale to manage and from there moved on to Contract Milking.   We had the goal of herd ownership and in the 2015 season we successfully negotiated a 50:50 sharemilking contract on the 1000 cow farm we had first managed (Tapatoru) and this is where we currently are.   

Susie and I won the 2016-17 Canterbury / North Otago Sharmilkers of the year and went on to place 2nd at Nationals picking up merit awards for Health and Safety, Leadership, Human Resources and Livestock performance. We are just moving into our second term of 50:50 sharemilking Tapatoru and look forward to taking a bit more of a role in the senior management team.

Through our time at Purata the names and owners may have changed but the culture of backing people and providing them with opportunities have always been a constant. The ability to grow but stay within the same business and within a group of large farms meant there was generally always a new opportunity to be taken and hard work was recognised across the business and gave you a good foot in the door for your next role. For us the goal of farm ownership is not far off now and being able to work with likeminded industry leaders and the scale we get to farm means the opportunities for growth still continue to exist and act as motivators for ourselves.


Michael and Susie  Woodward