Well, to be fair Nova isn’t yet a milk powder maker but she’s about to be, joining - as she puts it - the ’big boys’, moving from her role as a Dairy Ingredients Officer to be a Powder Drier Operator at Fonterra’s Whareroa site in Taranaki.
A former dairy farm 2IC caring for 700 cows, Nova is now in her fourth year working for Fonterra.
While she’s excited about becoming a Drier Operator, her current role is just as important when it comes to meeting the standards our customers demand. “As a Dairy Ingredients Officer, my main responsibility revolves around the addition of nutrients, such as vitamins, to our milk powder. The quality of those extra ingredients and the amounts we add are critical to meeting our customers’ high expectations. It comes with a lot of responsibility but I enjoy that.”
Known as ‘Smiley’ around the Whareroa site, Nova’s passions include meeting new people and learning new things. She’s also passionate about keeping people safe.
Nova is a member of Fonterra’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) at Whareroa, one of 11 ERTs the Co-op has around the country. These teams are primarily responsible for response and recovery on site after incidents or events, such as fires, medical events or spills. But the teams also support emergency services in their local communities.
Basically, they are the people running to an area where everyone else is running from.
“One of the great things about being an ERT member is the confidence it gives you,” Nova says. “Knowing immediately what to do in an emergency is a valuable life skill and really rewarding.”
Helping others is a huge part of Nova’s life. She has volunteered for the Hawera Ambulance Service, putting her medical and life-saving skills to good use. Now, she’s the only female firefighter at the Hawera Volunteer Fire Brigade and is looking at becoming a fire appliance driver.
Nova enjoys the family feel of the brigade and how it makes every member feel valued. “We all support each other and have each other’s backs. We’re there for each other no matter what, which is pretty important when you’re in a dangerous situation and the adrenaline is pumping.”
The adrenaline also comes in handy in Nova’s sporting life, whether she’s challenging herself in triathlons, marathons or even ultramarathons. “I have learned to push myself, be persistent and persevere because I don’t like things ‘beating’ me” she says.
Multi-sport is Nova’s current focus as she juggles shift work with training for the Rotorua Half-Ironman later this year and her first full Ironman next year.
But before then the annual Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge in May beckons. Nova has done it before and who would bet against her beating her personal best.