December 13, 2017

From farming to foxtrot

In between milking cows on their Katikati dairy farm, Fonterra farmers Daniel and Kirstin Wilks can be found in their dance studio, practicing and teaching ballroom and Latin dancing.

Juggling full time dairy farming and a busy dancing studio is certainly rewarding and brings some great variety to their lives, says 31-year-old Daniel.

Although an entire change to their farming system was necessary to accommodate their prospering dance career, both and Dan and Kirstin say they have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and are really happy with what they have achieved.

“We had been dancing together for 3 years before we changed to the Once a Day Milking System. It’s given us the flexibility we needed to focus on our own dancing and our 30 plus dance students,” says Daniel.

“We now aim to have our farm jobs done by 3pm, leaving our afternoons and evenings free to teach and practice. During the weekends we’re now able to travel to Auckland for our own coaching and to attend competitions with our students.”

As the ballroom dancing season overlaps with the busiest part of the dairy farming season, between June and December, Daniel and Kirstin are pretty full on. Amid calving, coaching, practicing and competing they have some seriously long days.

Kirstin Wilks on her Fonterra dairy farm

“It can be really challenging at times, says Kirstin, but we’re lucky we have Dan’s Mum and Dad who help out over the busy times. If we need to travel they are always happy to help out with milking and looking after the farm.”

“Although it may require a lot of energy output we feel really privileged to have the opportunity to do two things we love.”

In June, the couple gained a second and third place at the Outside Change Cup help in Melbourne and second and third place at the NZ Dancesport Championships held in October this year.  

You can watch their story on Seven Sharp here.