Alumni Biographies 2013-2014



Bruce Murphy

My name is Bruce Murphy and I live and farm in Glenavy, Waimate District, South Canterbury on our family owned business. I have a wife Lesa and four children aged between six and thirteen.  

I am a director of Murphy Farms Ltd which has grown through the strategy of land acquisition to milk 5500 cows on seven properties and we own three support blocks. I have a hands on role in the business planning and industry, OSH and environmental compliance components of our operation.

I have been appointed a member of the Lower Waitaki South Coastal Zone Committee which is a committee of Ecan and our two local district councils. This committee was put together to develop and champion guidelines for environmental change in the subregional planning process.

Currently I am the LIC shareholder councillor for South Canterbury and North Otago after my appointment in June 2015.

For the past nine years I have been on the Glenavy School Board of Trustees with two of those years being chairman.  Also being chairman of the Glenavy Pool Trust and involved with several other community organisations.

We are a family business and I am passionate about my children having the opportunity to be part of it when they get older this resonates with my firm belief in the cooperative model and the strengths it brings to our industry. I plan to continually improve my governance capability so I can in the future continue to add more value to our industry.



Matt Pepper

“Matt is the Fonterra Shareholders Councillor for the Rotorua area and the co-owner of Milk Solid Ltd which sharemilks on 3 dairy properties in the central North Island and owns a forestry converted dairy farm in the South Waikato.  He grew up on a Dairy farm in Tirau then studied Hotel Management at Auckland University of Technology and worked in this field in Queenstown, London and Auckland.

Matt and his wife Louise, a physiotherapist, cycled through Britain Ireland and France and travelled throughout Asia before deciding to give it a go in dairying completing a Dip AgBus as well as winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy and regional Sharemilker of the Year.

In between farming he spent two years with his family as a volunteer managing a large poultry business in the PNG Highlands.

Matt enjoys triathlons, mountain biking, relaxing at the beach with his three children while trying  learning to surf.”



Matt Ross

I am married to Julie and together we have three primary school aged children. I live on and farm our 580ha property at Duntroon in the Waitaki Valley inland from Oamaru, where we milk 1800 cows.

I have farmed in North Otago since graduating from Massey University with a bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) in 1998. In that time I have progressed through a traditional path that has included apprentice, management and sharemilking roles. In 2007, we were awarded the NZ Sharemilker of the Year title. Julie and I have focused on building long term relationships and been involved in a variety of ownership structures as a function of that as we have climbed the progression ladder.

Off farm I hold a number of governance roles in local irrigation Company’s and I am an appointed member of the Lower Waitaki South Coastal Zone Committee, a subsidiary committee of Environment Canterbury and the Waitaki and Waimate District Councils.

I have a particular interest in water and environmental planning at the local and national level and have spent a considerable amount of time in the Resource Management space over the past ten years.

I have experience and held roles off farm in project management, farm planning and advisory and produced/contributed to feasibility studies for a variety of farm development projects in the lower South Island since 2006. 



Penny Smart

Penny’s lives in Dargaville and has 25 years of practical farming experience during which time the Dargaville farm has progressed successfully from bull beef to cropping and currently to dairying.  

Penny is one of two directors of Aoroa Farm Trust.  The farm operates a biological dairy farming system which milks 850 cows.  The Farming Trust is committed to sustainable biological farming practices, starting with the soil and following a continuum that flows through to the milk that is produced.

Penny completed the Agri Womens Development Trust (AWDT) 10 month Leadership Program in 2013.  The program is designed to enhance participant’s leadership skills in order for them to take on governance roles within their respective industries.  

Penny has a diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution (specialising in mediation) and has held roles on local school Boards and a local Budgeting Service.  

Currently Penny is on the Fonterra Shareholders Council Ward 2 Central North, Chair of the Northland Dairy Development Trust (NDDT) and a trustee of Kaipara Hospice.

Penny’s future aspirations lie with further governance roles and or an elected role within local government.



Pete Moynihan

I am located in Invercargill and married to Gaylene and we have two children, Jenna aged 16 and Mike 12. I completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree from Lincoln in 1986, completed the Kellogg leadership programme in 2006 and the Excelerator Business leadership programme at Auckland University in 2007. 

Since leaving university I have been predominately involved in the banking sector and am currently an Area Manager for Westpac Agribusiness. In 2002 we had built up enough capital and entered farming by buying and leasing land and completing a dairy conversion. This farm has been expanded to now produce 281,000 kg ms. 

In 2006 we formed an equity partnership with another couple and we converted another farm, we have since expanded this farm and are on track to produce 320,000 kg ms this coming season. Our third farming investment is in Manuka SA (Chile), we’re small shareholders in this business that has around 40 dairy farms. 

In September 2013 I was voted on to the Ravensdown Board and I am enjoying this new challenge, as we redefine Ravensdown as a business, implement a new strategy and position Ravensdown for a strong and profitable future.

I am passionate about Agriculture and business strategy, but more importantly getting results that align with the strategy, which set you apart from your peers. 



Stuart Taylor

Stuart Taylor is the General Manager for the O’Brien Group of farms in the Rangitikei Region (4,500 cows).  He is also the director for several dairy-based organisations in Southland and Northland.  

He obtained a Degree in Agriculture and Rural Valuation from Massey University in 1996.  From there, he worked on dairy farms in the Waikato until heading overseas where he converted dairy farms in Equador 1998 -99. 

In 2001, Stuart returned to New Zealand and to the Waikato, working for JD & RD Wallace Ltd.  Stuart worked for JD & RD Wallace for 8 years and 5 years as Assistant General Manager of their 12,000 dairy cow business based in Cambridge.  He has been based in Rangitikei for the last 2 years.

Stuart is married to Anne Gardiner-Taylor and has four children - the oldest two (girl and boy) are five years old and the younger two have just turned four.