From the formation of the Hokitika United Dairy company in 1868, to where dairy farming on the West Coast is today, has been an exceptional and rewarding journey for so many.

This year we celebrate 150 years of dairy farming in our stunning region.

Dairy has connected so many of us.

We are proud to help celebrate this milestone and to recognise the achievements and hard work that generations of West Coasters have put in to build our industry.

Get to know some of those who have been involved in, impacted by, or connected to 150 years of dairy farming on the West Coast.  

Stories from the Coast

Chris Cowan

Chris Cowan remembers always being around milk trucks as a youngster; the milk run was, “just part of every day, the milk truck would always take off and head around the Coast.”

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Photo Charlie Glass Story2x

Charlie Glass

Sneaking a kiss from his wife Joan, playing tricks on colleagues, and finding the odd cat in the cream barrel, are fond memories Charlie Glass shares as he takes a stroll around what remains of the Inter-Wanganui Co-op dairy factory...

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Gary & Gloria McGill

When Gary and Gloria McGill bought the Kokatahi pub in 1991, little did they know the next 12 years would see them make some of the best memories of their lives.

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Jim & Kathleen Rea

It was 1994 when Jim and Kathleen Rea could see that the dairy industry was on the cusp of change, they decided to take a leap of faith and dove head first into a new Westport business, building dairy sheds.

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Kevin Twist

With 39 years' experience in the milk industry, Kevin Twist has seen the treatment of milk change right before his eyes. Kevin first stepped into Greymouth's milk treatment plant as a 15-year-old keen for a job.

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Nelson Cook

Three generations ago Nelson Cook's grandfather began dairying at Arahura, with a herd of 15 cows. Eight decades later and Nelson has a herd of more than 1300 cattle on his two farms – Totara and Griffin Creek. 

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Owen Norton

Two dairy farmers, a surplus of milk, and a bright idea were the right ingredients for an ice cream business to come to life in the early 1920s. Owen Norton explains that his dad and uncle were the creators behind the famous Snowflake ice cream brand.

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Reid Industrial Store Room

Read Industrial

Read Industrial, formally known as Direct Supply and L Read and Son Ltd has manufactured and installed milking machines to New Zealand’s dairy industry for 96 years.

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Ron & Jackie Monk

When Ron Monk talks about his herd of Jersey cows, you can hear his passion for farming. Ron has been dairy farming on the same land at Kokatahi for 40 years, waking up at 7am each day to milk his herd of 180.

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Russell Becker

Transport has always been a way of life for one Ahaura family, whose business has been a key link in supplying West Coast farmers with what they need to get the job done.

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Stewart & Shirley Rhind

Overlooking their 280 hectares of land and 112 cattle, Stewart and Sheryl Rhind reminisce on farming life in Karamea. The couple has kept the farm running for the third generation after joining Stewart’s parents on the property in 1992 when the Karamea Dairy Factory closed down.

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Thomas & Hannah Oats

Five-year-old Ellie Oats and her three-year-old brother Charlie spend their days running around the farm, learning to help mum and dad milk cows, and are surrounded by sheep, dogs, a goat, and even a miniature horse. This is the dream for Thomas and Hannah Oats – raising their two children on a dairy farm.

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Jack Mitchell fits cups to cows

Jack Mitchell

Old-timer Jack Mitchell's Cronadun farm is like walking back in time. It uses the same straight line milking, or 'walk-through shed' method that his father James used on the farm back in the early 1920s.

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The new bulk milk vat front colostrum milk vat and calf milk vat at the OMalley dairy shed

Mark O'Malley

For generations the O'Malley family farmed sheep and beef in the upper Grey Valley, as well as running their successful thoroughbred stud concern, but in June 2016 Mark O'Malley converted 390ha of the existing farm at Ikamatua into a highly mechanised dairy operation.

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Stories from the Coast