Moving on: In Conclusion | Issue 172

Nov 4, 2021

The news of Dr Lindsay Fung’s entry into the Producer Management role is welcome indeed at a personal and industry level. Lindsay’s skills, as this area enters perhaps the most critical part of this Executive portfolio reach, are unmatched and will bring a great timely transition.

The challenges are new and significant with the intended Government policy related to GHG emissions, environmental legislation, Intensive Winter Grazing and the mix of local regional council rules and implications and national policy statements. Lindsay’s experience with DFA, yourselves as DFA leaders and members, and wider industry through the Landcare Manuals, Environment Awards and generally activity in the branches is well established, extraordinarily professional. Those qualities along with Lindsay’s quiet humour and his commitment and dedication will serve you and this position well.

Along with Innes, I’m committed to a good transition and handover that will ease the inevitable sense of change and to some extent loss of association with the day to day.

Lindsay already knows well the great talent pool we have with Amy, Cenwynn and Rebecca all supporting the Producer Manager. They, like the earlier staff in these positions before them, have grown producer engagement to new levels of professionalism and value and are invaluable and the competent public face of the DFA support team and its activity.

I thank you all as current Branch Chairs, SAP and Executive Committee members, and DFA members across the Branches. I have appreciated sincerely your support for the time that you give to your regions and at a national level. You all walk in the footsteps of your earlier branch chairs and history of your branches and your own local emphasis, drive and deer farming variations.

You all have welcomed me into your branches, homes, events and many velvet competitions, and those poignant days of loss as earlier deer farming DFA leaders and great farmers have died and been remembered as only the deer farming community can. I thank you all for that privilege and generosity for that welcome, unreservedly. 

This role has become a way of life and a privilege and leaves great friends, unique and valued experiences, highlights, laughter and enjoyment at every turn and I think through the tougher times together we’ve done some terrific stuff. All that time it’s been about the teamwork at branch and national level and fuelled by a passion for great deer farming and being engaged in the industry.

Imagine being part of a wide talent and essentially producer inspired  team that has produced

  • The Johnes Management Research Group and all that that achieved and then DeerPRO;
  • And then part of the team with DFA Executive Committee, that has originated the Next Generation Programme;
  • And then as a cog in the wider DINZ DFA team that ran Focus Farms at a national and regional level;
  • Its also been a group effort that’s produced some great conferences in association with the Branches;
  • Sheer hard team work produced outstanding environment manuals and organising the earlier Environmental Awards that were ground-breaking for the pastoral industry at the time;
  • The DFA runs wonderous velvet competitions and local events that have just got better and better and its been an honour to be included as a judge and participant locally and at national events. You as DFA national and Branch leaders have also welcomed DINZ Staff and Board members into you home patches with open arms.       

If you add all that and more up, it  is such a legacy, that truly this job and my role in it has been easy when that industry team and its leadership talent is behind you. That’s been the secret. I thank you all for that, and will relive those activities over this winding down period and whatever retirement might bring. 

In grateful appreciation to all, warmest regards.   

“No regerts! and thanks to all.”  TP

Scroll to the bottom to view a few photos of Tony in his element >>

Acknowledgements from current and recent previous NZDFA Executive Committee Chairs and current Deer Industry New Zealand Board Chair

John Sommerville - NZDFA Executive Committee Chair 2018-current

As a young deer farmer, I can remember attending numerous field days with Tony in attendance as part of the Invermay team, educating us all with the latest on how to successfully farm deer. Later, when DINZ was formed, it was like the new position of producer manager was written for Tony with his skill set. The rest is, as they say, history.

As all branch chairs can attest to, Tony has been great support over the years with his dedication and drive at all hours to attend branch events, meetings, velvet comps, virtually anything where he could be of service. Being on the Executive Committee reaffirmed the skills and professionalism that Tony brought to his role and the industry.

So from myself, the Executive Committee and all NZDFA members, a big thank you Tony for a job well done. We will certainly miss you, but your legacy is huge for a lifetime and very personal commitment to the DFA and the whole deer industry. You can take a well-earned rest but I’m sure we still see plenty of you!

David Morgan: NZDFA Executive Committee Chair 2017-2018

Tony Pearse, by nature is a small man, but has a huge heart and huge mind. I have known him for 30 odd years, back in the days as a scientist in Invermay up to the present day with his role as Producer Manager at DINZ. I have always seen him as having a great commitment to our deer farming industry here in NZ. We got some great initiatives going in DFA with his guidance and stewardship, he was always up for the challenge, and took on board what farmers had to say. This was at times a tough task reporting back to the DINZ board on our behalf. I wish him all the best in the future and spending some more time with his family.

Kris Orange - NZDFA Executive Committee Chair 2012-2017

When I first became part of the Executive Committee for NZDFA, Tony was the one who welcomed me to the organisation. After one short year I was then elected as Chair. Tony was the one who helped me through a fairly steep learning curve and was immensely helpful of protocol and back at that point the NZDFA was going through a reinvigorative change that was necessary for the Association’s future. It was at a time when farmer confidence was low and moves had started within DINZ to push for better productivity on farm, hence there were a number of meetings and rental cars throughout both islands.

Tony’s knowledge of anything deer is absolutely huge, -he’s probably forgotten more about deer than some of us will ever end up knowing. His knowledge and wisdom as regards the history of both DINZ and NZDFA has often been put to good use over my time at both Executive Committee and on the DINZ Board. We will never see another Tony Pearse or TP!

Just so passionate about deer, probably one of the most travelled people with regards deer, both in NZ and around the world. The countless times Tony would drive back home to Dunedin after a local SCNODFA meeting late at night is testament to his dedication to a job he considered to be the best job in the world. Well, Tony made it the best job by his out and out dedication to everything deer. Often having to be diplomatic in certain situations, Tony used sound logic and his immense knowledge of the many facets of the industry to help us all through any tricky times that arose.

Absolute pillar of the NZDFA!

William (Bill) Taylor - NZDFA Executive Committee Chair 2007-2011

Right from the beginning Tony insisted the name of the position he had been appointed to, should be changed, as he felt he would never be happy in his marriage and work life, if he was known as what was originally suggested “ Producer Affairs Manager.”

I was fortunate to work closely with Tony for his first 10 years, and my respect and admiration for his dedication and commitment to the Deer Industry and its people, especially the grass roots farmers are immense.

Ian Walker - Current Deer Industry New Zealand Board Chair

NZ has had an extraordinary number of individuals who have made a huge contribution to the NZ Deer Industry over a number of years and often going “above and beyond the call of duty”. Many of these characters are recognised as legends in the Deer Industry and I would recognise Tony Pearse as one of those iconic contributors.

Tony has been around the Deer Industry for as long as I can remember and in many roles. He is a deer farmer in his own right, has been a deer farm manager, worked for AgResearch at Invermay involved in many research projects, has worked in commercial companies in relation to the deer industry, has worked for DINZ and the DFA as a member, branch and at executive levels. This is a reflection of why Tony is recognised within the industry as such a “good buggar”.

Tony’s range of experience and contacts within the industry, his ability to communicate at all levels, his penchant for fastidiously recording events in words or pictures, and his quirky sense of humour have earned him the respect and mana which is very deserving. We could all share stories about Tony.

To Tony on behalf of the board, all I can say is a very simple and genuine thank you, and enjoy your retirement.


Tony at the most recent Next Generation Programme at Mt Burke Station

Tony talking velvet at an Elk Wapiti Society NZ annual velvet comp

Tony helping out at a Peel Forest environmental field day

Tony being awarded Life Membership of the Hawkes Bay branch of NZDFA



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