Dairying and Employment in the Amuri: 1983 to 2002


  • Reuben J Edkins Lincoln University
  • Rupert S Tipples Lincoln University




The dairy industry is currently experiencing a staff shortage, as are many other industries. It has experienced rapid expansion, and the situation is made worse by the poor image of the industry. This expansion has often occurred in areas with little prior dairying. The Amuri region, North Canterbury, is one such area. The conversion of farms to dairying began in I983, following the commissioning of the 17000-hectare Waiau Plains Irrigation Scheme in 1980. There are now 49 herds in the area. Some of the initial dairy farming experiences were very bad, giving all dairying in the region a poor reputation. The Amuri region is 'geographically isolated basin', and situated approximately 90 minutes from Christchurch, with limited social opportunities for the farm staff This resulted in extreme difficulties attracting and retaining good staff in the area. In response to this situation, the dairy farmers in the area formed the Amuri Dairy Employers Group, in March 2000. This group established a constitution including: Mandatory member employer training; Agreeing to an independent annual audit of member employment practices; and Agreeing to a Code of Practice for employment standards. I have undertaken a two-year investigation of the effects of the Amuri Dairy Employers Group, on dairy farming employment and the wider social effects in the Amuri area. A case-study approach has been used to gather the information. This research was conducted as part of a Masters of Commerce (Agriculture).


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Author Biographies

Reuben J Edkins, Lincoln University

Farm Management in the Applied Management and Computing Division

Rupert S Tipples, Lincoln University

Farm Management in the Applied Management and Computing Division