DINZ news in brief | Issue 100

Jul 21, 2023

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In Brief



Pan-ready cuts in demand from New Zealand venison’s foodservice customers

DINZ executive chef Graham Brown says New Zealand foodservice customers are looking for pan-ready cuts, “as they deal with staffing pressures, so need products that are easy to handle and don’t need further preparation.”

Graham Brown’s cold smoked venison salad in tarts was one of the dishes keeping the team on their toes at the Fine Food Show.

“Brownie” has been out and about in New Zealand over the past few months, contracted by DINZ to work with venison marketers at food shows up and down the country. He was also involved in presentations to hotel and restaurant groups at Auckland’s Fine Food Show at the end of June.

Working with Merchant of Venison, Brown presented at catering distributor Bidfoods’ regional shows. Tastings for customers gave “some really positive feedback,” he reports, and also resulted in a more in-depth workshop and tastings for Bidfoods’ senior managers at their “excellent” new facility in Auckland.

Predictions for the amount of product needed for the Fine Food Show stand “were exceeded,” he says. Presenting five dishes also kept them, “on our toes.”

It was a “great opportunity to get face-to-face with customers, share their concerns and get their feedback,” he reports.

”Although we know what ‘fantastic products farm-raised New Zealand Venison and Cervena are,” Graham Brown says it was very valuable to get in front of New Zealand food service distributors to, “educate sales staff on the superior quality of our venison so they can encourage chefs to use it on their menus, so locals and visitors can enjoy a unique New Zealand product.“

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Thermal comfort “a continued focus area” for MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has signalled to industry groups that thermal comfort is a “continued focus area,” reports DINZ general manager quality assurance Rob Gregory.

An example of a shelter belt from a DINZ shade and shelter focused field day in 2019.

Gregory sits on the Farm to Processor Animal Welfare Forum that reports to the Minister of Agriculture. The group’s aim is to create a joint-industry plan to raise awareness of the requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 for farmers to mitigate thermal stress for their stock during hot, cold or wet weather, he explains.

The MPI animal welfare sector liaison team has been promoting awareness around the requirements for shade and shelter, which attracts a number of complaints from the public each year, as part of their events programme for a number of years and most recently at Mystery Creek Fieldays in June.

Generally, deer farmers are aware of the requirements to provide adequate shelter for their animals and DINZ and NZDFA have been working in the area for a number of years, he says. Farmers are already incorporating wallows in summer, trees and structures for shade into their farming operations.

The online Deer Hub at DINZ’s website,, contains DINZ resources on shade and shelter. Substantial sections are also included in the Deer Code of Welfare, NZ Deer Farmer’s Landcare Manual (section 4) and Environmental Management Code of Practice 2018 (pp 61-63), while a number of Deer Facts also mention the topic.

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Increased risk of leptospirosis flagged

ESR, the Crown Research Institute specialising in science for communities, is flagging a lift in cases of human leptospirosis post-Cyclone Gabrielle, which means the bacterial disease is circulating in animals too, including deer.

On farms where clinical leptospirosis is present, treatment and vaccination is likely to be cost effective, the Deer Fact says.

Leptospirosis is costly for farm productivity and serious for humans too, with a long recovery time involved. DINZ was already aware of a post-Cyclone increase in deer and distributed information ‘Weaner Diseases after Gabrielle’ to deer farmers in the affected regions in March.

“Now, veterinarians have been noting increased observations and treatment of cases in dogs and sheep, especially in the flood-affected areas of Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti Gisborne,” notes DINZ policy and research manager Emil Murphy.

Anecdotal evidence suggests it is more widespread than those two regions. This is supported by a “consortium of professionals who agree there is a high likelihood of increased animal leptospirosis infections following the increased wet weather, exacerbated by Cyclone Gabrielle, and increased rodent vectors in the recovery phase,” he says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), with Massey University, the New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Veterinary Council of New Zealand will be raising awareness of the disease and distributing information through various channels.

Murphy is keeping in close touch with the MPI Animal Health team to monitor progress.

Signs of the disease, its spread, vaccination programmes, prevention and implications for human health are all covered in a helpful Leptospirosis Deer Fact online at the Deer Hub at

If you have any further questions, contact, or phone 027 252 3844.

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Marking our 100th

We're celebrating a milestone – 100 editions of DINZ eNews! Alongside Deer Industry News, which achieved the same milestone in February-March 2020, we’ve now reported on the deer industry’s progress most months since July 2014.

How many issues??

Two to three major articles are supported each month by a varying number of shorter, chatty news briefs. 

DINZ eNews has proved to be a valuable communications tool, helping to build, among other things, awareness of Passion2Profit activities, the need for velvetters to upgrade their sheds to comply with MPI hygiene standards and the adoption of VelTrak tagging.

DINZ has an essential role in providing information to deer farmers and the wider industry on matters which impact their businesses, says CEO Innes Moffat. 

“We use a variety of communications channels – Deer Industry News, press releases, interviews with farming publications and radio, and face-to-face whenever we can, but DINZ eNews provides readers with short sharp updates on key events and links to further information.” 

DINZ has surveyed farmers and monitors readership. “It’s a big commitment each month to turn this around quickly but we believe it is valued,” he says.  

The impact of Covid-19 on venison markets has been the focus of many e-News stories, says former editor Trevor Walton, “as has the growing connections to health food companies in Asia using New Zealand deer velvet.” 

With farmers under regulatory challenge, DINZ eNews has also played an important role, he says, “advising farmers and asking for their input on winter grazing rules, regional water plans and greenhouse gas emissions.”

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DINZ moves and people

As forewarned last issue, the DINZ office moved on 7 July and can now be found in smaller, shared office space with Beef + Lamb NZ on Level 4, Wellington Chambers, Featherston Street, Wellington 6011.

Progress is also being made in recruitment for three new DINZ roles: Environmental stewardship manager, QA and industry capability manager, and assistant manager market development. More news on those soon.

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