Noticeboard and Events | Issue 185

Feb 3, 2023


- VelTrak Password Change Approaching
2023 Awards and Competitions
- Natural Knowledge Programme
Interim CWC chair and BC contact details
- Production Feature: weaning
- Joke of the Month


- Deer 2 $u¢¢eed hosted by the Hawkes Bay Branch NZDFA, Tikokino,15 February 2023
- Summer Field Day hosted by Southland Branch DFA, 16 February 2023
- 2023 Rising Stars, Te Awamutu, 25 February 2023
- 2023 Deer Industry Conference, Napier, 9 May 2023


VelTrak Password Change Approaching

As a result of behind-the-scenes work on VelTrak, all users will have to change their passwords before the start of the 2023/24 velvet season.

“Quite a few people this season have had difficulties with the current password system for VelTrak. This has caused them considerable frustration and delays in approving their VSDs. This isn’t acceptable, so we’ve had to look for a better alternative,” says Rob Gregory, General Manager Quality Assurance.

As a result, VelTrak will be moving to a different password verification system, which should offer a greater degree of security and protection for user’s personal information, as well as being more cost effective in the long run.

“The change is currently planned for the middle of March, but we wanted to give everyone who uses VelTrak as much notice as possible, to avoid confusion when it does happen,” says Gregory. “A range of other communications are in the pipeline, but even if someone misses all of these, the next time they try to log on to VelTrak after mid-March, they will be prompted to change their password, so it is not something to worry too much about.”

2023 Awards and Competitions

2023 Biennial Environment Awards 

The DINZ Environmental Awards are convened every second year and are part of the industry’s commitment to environmentally sustainable farmed deer production.

The awards’ primary goals are:  

  • To promote the adoption of sustainable deer farming practices on all deer farms.
  • To recognise innovative deer farmers for implementing and practising sustainable and profitable deer farming practices in land and deer systems management
  • To encourage sharing of experiences and proven best sustainable management practices and innovation through the resource of the NZ Deer Farmer's Landcare Manual 

If you are interested or would like to know more information*, click here >>

Nominations generally close at the end of March with the judging taking place in April.

*An updated information pack and entry will be uploaded when ready.

NZDFA Matuschka Award

The New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association “Matuschka Award” recognises the grass roots farmer and unsung contributor to local area activities, functions and core spirit of deer farming.

Nominations should be made through the appropriate Branch or can be direct to the convenor. There is no set format or form to nominate someone. The nominations can be informal, from individuals or Branch nominations or industry groups, or have a nomination endorsed by the branch or other individuals and it’s not necessary to advise a candidate of the nomination. 

For more information, head to

Nominations must be submitted to the NZDFA via no later than two weeks before the Annual Conference (e.g. Mon 24 April).

Deer Industry Award

The Deer Industry Award is an annual award presented each year to the person, persons jointly, or organisation who, in the opinion of the judges, has made the most outstanding contribution to the New Zealand deer industry, either in the previous year, or over a period of years.

The selection panel is made up of three judges who are the nominees of the following organisations: Countrywide Magazine (NZ Farm Life Media), The NZ Deer Farmers' Association (Inc) and Porter Holdings Ltd.

A updated entry form for 2023 will be uploaded here when ready: 

2023 MSD Allflex Deer Industry Photo Competition

Last year's competition saw some spectacular entries from all over New Zealand making the job of judging a very difficult one. Many of the images you would have seen featured in the industry's magazine, Deer Industry News and on

There are some great prizes on offer, including;

  • $500 cash prize for the first-place winner
  • Category winner cash prizes
  • Premium gift pack for "People's choice" award
  • Framed photos of winning photographs

Entries open now! Competition closes 5pm, Wednesday 12 April 2023. Click here for more information >>

Please note that this competition is for amateur photographers only. Professional photographers, who derive income from photography, are not eligible to enter. Also please ensure that photos from phone cameras are of a high quality and can be viewed clearly on a large display screen.

Natural Knowledge Programme

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is providing DINZ with more than $1millon of funding support to enable us to collect deer farming data over three years. This brings together physical, environmental and financial farm-level data to provide a snapshot of farm performance and build quality benchmarking information.

This information on ‘real life’ deer farms is incredibly important to help provide a statistically significant dataset that can be used to model the potential impact of both national and regional policy on farm performance. Without this data deer farms are made up or excluded and the real impact on our industry is not understood.

We are looking for Canterbury and Southland based deer farms to be involved in the project and would love your help.

You’ll receive analysis of your farm data, a Farm Environment Plan (FEP) including an OverseerFM nutrient budget and modelling of your farm Greenhouse Gas emissions. In collecting this anonymised information, we help build a credible database.

If you are keen to hear more about the project and want to be involved. Please email all enquiries to our Environmental Stewardship Manager Sara Elmes

Interim Chair CWC branch and contact details for Branch Chairs

Canterbury West Coast Branch Chair Stu Stokes has recently tendered his resignation. Committee member Lorna Humm has taken on the role as Interim chair until the branch can meet and confirm a new chair. 

A timely reminder that branch chairs are there to represent NZDFA members. If you'd like to get in touch with them to discuss industry topics, check in on what's happening in your region or to get involved, you can reach out through their details below:

Branch Chairs Contact Details 

Ian Bristow
Ph: 09 420 2852 / 027 497 9876 

Catherine Morrow
Ph: 07 827 3787 / 027 272 3151
Leith Chick
Ph: 07 872 5551 / 027 256 3551

Bay of Plenty
Ali Tabolt
Ph: 027 594 4447

Poverty Bay
Tom Sanson
Ph: 06 863 1444 / 027 248 9098

Hawke’s Bay
Evan Potter
Ph: 06 835 0094 / 027 352 8874

Rex Cowley
Ph: 06 755 2551 / 027 495 7729

Central Regions
Mike Humphrey
Ph: 06 328 8860 / 021 886 065

Taihape Ruapehu
Sean de Lacy
Ph: 027 778 1669

Mike Allan
Ph: 06 372 7706 / 020 4112 9809

Tony Peacock
Ph: 03 523 9544 / 027 429 6551

Jason Rentoul
Ph: 03 572 2804 / 027 712 1064

Canterbury/West Coast
Lorna Humm - Interim Chair
Ph: 021 150 1658

South Canterbury/North Otago
Mark Tapley
Ph: 027 779 9008

Richard Currie
Ph: 03 205 8166 / 027 276 0664

Bruce Allan
Ph: 03 208 8091 / 027 824 5898

Elk & Wapiti Society
Grant Hasse
Ph: 027 224 5542

Contact details can be found at


Production feature: Weaning 

Weaning is the physical separation of calves from the hinds so that the calves are no longer dependent on their mothers for food (milk) and security. This enables the calves and hinds to be managed separately within the farm system.

In the wild, calves are naturally weaned within their first year, but the actual timing can vary between individuals. Natural weaning seldom suits the management needs of the farming operation. Most farmers, therefore, undertake active weaning management on their herds.

Key points

  • It is important to find a weaning system that works well for your farm and management style.
  • There are advantages to each type of weaning options: pre-rut weaning, natural weaning and post-rut weaning.

Read more on weaning at >>

Joke of the Month

After getting all of Pope Benedict's luggage loaded into the limo, and he doesn't travel light, the driver notices that the Pope is still standing on the curb.

'Excuse me, Your Holiness,' says the driver, 'would you please take your seat so we can leave?'

'Well, to tell you the truth,' says the Pope, 'they never let me drive at the Vatican , and I 'd really like to drive today.'

'I'm sorry but I cannot let you do that I'd lose my job! And what if something should happen?' protests the driver, wishing he'd never gone to work that morning.

'There might be something extra in it for you,' says The Pope.

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 105 mph.

'Please slow down, Your Holiness!!!' pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens. 'Oh, dear God, I'm gonna lose my license,' moans the driver.

The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches, but the cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on the radio.

'I need to talk to the Chief,' he says to the dispatcher.

The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going a hundred and five.

'So bust him,' says the Chief.

'I don't think we want to do that - he's really important,' said the Cop.

The Chief exclaimed, 'All the more reason!'

'No, I mean really important,' said the cop.

The Chief then asked, 'Who have you got there, the Mayor?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

Chief: 'President?'

Cop: 'Bigger.'

'Well,' said the Chief, 'Who is it?'

Cop: 'I think it's God!'

Chief: 'What makes you think it's God?'

Cop: 'He's got the Pope as a chauffeur!'



Deer 2 $u¢¢eed, 15 February 2023

The Hawkes Bay Branch of the NZ Deer Farmers' Association invite you to "Deer 2 $u¢¢eed"

"Kill weaners when you want to, not before"

Join local deer famers, vets, and special guest speaker, Geoff Asher for a workshop on finding a weaning system that works well for your farm and management style.

  • 9.30am Arrive at Onga-Tiko Rugby and Sports Club.
  • Visit two local Hawkes Bay farms to discuss weaning management.
  • 1pm Lunch at Onga-Tiko Rugby and Sports Club.
  • 2pm guest speaker, Geoff Asher, then discussion on 'what good looks like and why it doesn’t always happen'.
  • Please join the HB Branch for a beverage and a bbq at the end of the day, for a catch up.

There is no cost to attend but you must register.

It is open to any deer farmer, DFA member or not, so feel free to share with your neighbours!

RSVP: Evan Potter

Summer Field Day, 16 February 2023

Southland Deer Farmers' Association in association with Alliance Group Limited invite deer farmers to join them for their:

Summer Field Day

Optional Plant Tour from 9:00am, Main Programme from 2:00pm followed by drinks and dinner.

Plant Tour - Lorneville Venison from 9am

Alliance will host up to 15 people each hour covering the yards, venison chain and further processing department. Plant tours will take place at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00am and take an hour to complete. Bookings are required – see RSVP below.

Afternoon Speakers – Makarewa Country Club from 2pm

Alliance Group

- International Market Update
- Premium Brand/Innovation Update
- Venison vs Lamb boning demonstration
- Product tasting and general Q&A session

Deer Industry New Zealand

There are lots of exciting things happening at the moment, which we will be looking to get in front of deer farmers for inspiration and feedback including:
- DINZ refreshed strategy. Recently released five-year strategy aimed at facilitating the industry’s recovery and building confidence in a sustainable and profitable future.
- Nature’s superpower™. A new way of telling the deer farming story, Nature’s Superpower™ has been developed by DINZ to help the sector tell a consistent story about New Zealand’s venison and velvet products.

There will also be drinks and social hour with the option to stay for dinner (pay your own way).

Please RSVP to Jane Campbell (SDFA secretary) at or Ph

- Number attending
- Which plant tour you will join (9:00, 10:00 or 11:00am)
- Whether you will require a meal at the MCC in the evening
- Any questions you’d like to ask AGL or DINZ staff

Click here for more information on the day >> 

2023 Rising Stars

CK Import Export 2023 Rising Stars

Saturday 25 February 2023

Venue: Waipa Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Te Awamutu
Time: 4.30pm onwards. Velvet viewing 6.00pm
Dinner: $70pp bookings essential Bank Account 03 0442 0297331 00
Drinks: Cash required for a ticket system $5 beer & Wine, $2.50 non-alcohol
Accommodation: Te Awamutu has limited accommodation available for 25th February, try Cambridge, Otorohanga, Hamilton Jet Park Hotel (Airport), Hamilton or Rotorua.
Host: Waipa Branch of NZDFA. Contact Leith Chick 07 872 5551

Competition Classes and Sponsors

1. 1-Year-Old Red Hard Antler - Rockvale Deer Stud
2. 2-Year-Old Red Hard Antler - Lynne Rhodes AI Services
3. 3-Year-Old Red Hard Antler - Tower Farms
4. 4-Year-Old Red Hard Antler - Crowley Deer
5. 3-Year-Old Fallow Hard Antler - NZ Fallow Deer Society
6. ‘Sire of Three’ Hard Antler - LJ AI Services
7. 2-Year-Old Red Velvet - Foveran Deer Park
8. Red Deer Super Heavy Weight 10kg+ Velvet -
9. 2-Year-Old Elk/Wapiti Velvet - Elk Wapiti Society NZ

People’s Choice Hard Antler Crystalyx NZ
People’s Choice Velvet - Ultra Scan, Raewyn Cunliffe
Supreme Trophy Award (Hard Antler) - Peel Forest Estate

Click here to download the information flyer and rules >>

Click here to download the entry form >>


Hosted by the Waipa Branch of the NZDFA

Enquiries to:

Any queries, please contact Waipa Branch Chair Leith Chick on 07 872 5551.

Send entry forms and advise dinner bookings to Helen Clarke or 07 8732785 or txt 027 2715015 by 17th February 2023.

2023 Deer Industry Conference

Please mark Tuesday 9 May in your calendars for a trip to the Art Deco capital of New Zealand, Napier.

More details to follow and will be uploaded to

The Branch Chairs will also meet on the Monday afternoon, 8 May.

The highlight of the conference will be the awards dinner on the Tuesday evening and will feature presentations to the winners of the Matuschka, Deer Industry, and Environment awards as well as announcing the winners of the MSD Photo Competition.

Return to summary DFA Stagline Issue 185 >>

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