DINZ news in brief | Issue 99

Jun 15, 2023

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In Brief



Alliance/Grand Farms venison range attracting attention in China

Alliance and its China partner Grand Farm’s new range of New Zealand venison products is attracting attention in China. Last month, Grand Farm’s refined and frozen venison flap cubes won a Selection Award, in SIAL Shanghai 2023’s innovation awards.

Grand Farm director Miss Chen Jiao Jiao (centre) and Alliance Asia sales team representatives Allen Chua (left) and Wallace Tan (right) on the busy Grand Farm stand at SIAL Shanghai.

The venison stood out for the judges at the huge food and drink exhibition, because of its “additional processing, where the meat was deboned and cut into convenient pieces for easy consumption,” says Allen Chua, Alliance Group Asia’s regional sales manager.

The launch of the Alliance/Grand Farm-developed retail range, including the venison cubes, last year was supported by the DINZ Marketing Innovation Fund.

Initial sales volumes have met expectations, “considering this is a relatively new concept to many and very much a niche protein,” says Chua. The team is expecting “steady, rather than spectacular growth,” as consumers become more aware of the benefits of venison as a nutritional option to the main proteins.

“Growth will be supported through the continuation of in-store tastings and social media activations,” he says.

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Census shows changes in deer numbers

Deer numbers grew in Canterbury, Otago and Hawke’s Bay between 2017 and 2022, according to figures newly released by Statistics New Zealand.

Red stags in velvet. Photo: Richard Hilson.

The figures are reported in the five-yearly Agricultural Production Census, which was last conducted in 2017, and accounts for the 30 June production year. The 2022 census data is now 12 months old, it should be noted.

The total number of farmed deer recorded by the farm census fell by five percent to 794,000 animals between 2017 and 2022 – a period when sheep numbers fell six percent and dairy cow numbers by eight percent.

The census shows around three quarters of deer (72 percent) were farmed in the South Island. Canterbury is the main deer farming region, recording nearly quarter of a million deer, closely followed by Southland and Otago with nearly 300,000 deer combined.

Increases in deer numbers were recorded in Canterbury and Otago as more stags were retained but there were large drops in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, West Coast and Southland.

Breeding hind numbers dropped in all regions other than Otago over this period, with the biggest reductions recorded in Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatū.  Overall, the breeding herd fell by 14 percent since 2017; 334,000 hinds were reported mated as at 30 June 2022 [numbers have fallen further since the reported period).  However, fawn survival rates improved, up five percent on the long-term average pre-2017.

Numbers of mixed-age stags recorded by the census increased by 23 percent to 119,000, as more were retained for antler production. Stag numbers increased or stayed stable in every region except Northland and Bay of Plenty.

Environmental constraints, land-use change and some big changes to breeding hind policies are affecting where and how deer are farmed across New Zealand, comments DINZ.

Rising costs of production are hitting every part of the agricultural sector hard and afforestation is affecting livestock numbers, it says. 

“Commentary on expected downward movements for milk, lamb and beef mean that farmers’ incomes will be strained in the year to come. Market comments continue to point to stable to improving conditions for venison and velvet.”

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New deer farmer’s voice on DINZ board

Paddy Boyd, a well-respected deer farmer from the central South Island, was selected last week by the NZDFA’s Selection and Appointment Panel (SAP) to join the DINZ board as a new producer representative.

Paddy Boyd: wants to make sure the producer is well represented.

Boyd says he is looking forward to bringing another strong “farmer’s voice” to the DINZ board table.  He is “very excited and grateful of the opportunity given to me to work for an industry I love.”

The DINZ board is well balanced and, “we need unity and clarity,” he told the recent NZDFA AGM in Ashburton. He aims to make sure “the producer continues to be well represented and informed by aligning ourselves with those empowered to market our product away from commodity foods into more high value niche markets.”

Well known in the sector, Boyd and his wife Barbara have managed Haldon Station in MacKenzie Basin for the past 41 years. They have been involved in the sector from the early capture days through to the impressive venison/velvet enterprise they run today. Boyd has represented deer farmers in thePassion2Profit Advisory Group since its start,  on the SAP, the National Velvet Standards Body and the OSPRI Stakeholders Council. Last year, he was awarded NZDFA Life Membership in recognition of his contribution and knowledge. 

Boyd’s three-year term will start on 1 July. His first meeting will be on July 13 when he will join the table with three other producer members – Hamish Fraser ), Jacqueline Rowarth  and Mandy Bell – three venison processor representatives – Gerard Hickey, Dave Courtney and the recently re-elected Nigel Jones – and re-elected velvet processor representative Tony Cochrane.

Boyd replaces Kris Orange, who steps down at the end of his term on 30 June.

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DINZ staff updates

Changes continue at DINZ during the implementation of the new focused sector strategy. The DINZ office is moving into a shared space and, following some staff changes, two new positions are being recruited for.

New office manager Helen Montgomery started three weeks ago, helping out first with the office move for the DINZ team, down one floor to share a smaller office space in Wellington Chambers with Beef + Lamb NZ. This will also “help with better integration with the B+LNZ team,” says DINZ (DINZ) chief executive Innes Moffat.

Visitors will find the team on Level 4, Wellington Chambers, 154 Featherston Street, Wellington 6011 from mid-July All other details remain the same, including PO Box, contact numbers and emails.

“As we embed new roles and responsibilities to align with the focus areas of the new strategy, Emil Murphy has been redeployed with a change of emphasis,” says Moffat.  “Emil will work across the whole team to lead our interaction with government on policies affecting venison and velvet production in his role at DINZ as the new policy and research manager.”

As advised last issue, Sara Elmes is now industry capability project manager with a remit covering Advance Parties, farm planning, rural professional workshops and Pathways, amongst other areas.

Recruitment is now underway for a new environmental stewardship manager and also an assistant manager, markets. Enquiries can be made to

See job descriptions >>

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Introducing: Helen Montgomery

Helen Montgomery joined DINZ three weeks ago as office manager in a fixed-term position through to the end of 2023.

Montgomery’s enjoying being part of the small team as she supports the implementation of some changes to the way DINZ works. 

Her main focus will be to introduce updated project management and document management systems and support the team as roles are changed.   

Montgomery’s background is mainly government and “in particular, coordinator for many various IT projects.”

Her last role was with the BNZ, working on a legislative project separating SAP from the parent company in Australia to New Zealand. Other positions have been with the Wellington School of Medicine, The Phobic Trust and consulting agencies, “and I am really looking forward to working in an interesting industry such as this,” she says.

Wellingtonian born-and-bred, Montgomery lives with her husband and adopted tabby, Leo, which she swears thinks she’s invisible when her husband is around, “but I love that cat dearly.” 

Being a Wellingtonian, she says “I am obviously very much a Hurricanes supporter” or anyone who beats the Crusaders.

C’mon the Hurricanes!!”

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