Organic NZ Leader of the Year

This award celebrates those who have gone above and beyond to build, support and promote organics in Aotearoa throughout the years. It will be presented to an organics champion who has inspired others by their work and commitment to the organic movement and industry within their own work and in the wider community.

Note: Judges will take into account practices such as packaging practices, sustainable energy and resource use, advocacy for organics and other certifications, eg living wage and carbon zero. These are examples, not requirements.  


Cleo Te Kiri
Cleo leads the Pāmu Central North Island organic dairy group, overseeing four dairy farms and a support block. She focuses on demonstrating best practice farming practices, achieving high production, and upholding environmental sustainability. With a deep con to organic farming values, she actively advocates for their adoption within the sector, speaking on panels and forums to promote environmentally friendly practices. Passionate about her team, Cleo embeds organic principles into their culture, fostering a consistently strong performance. She made history with Pāmu by being the first to manage an organic conversion, showcasing her boldness, encouragement and resilience in challenging the norms and achieving success.

Charles Merfield
Dr. Charles Merfield (widely known as Merf) is a researcher, educator, consultant, advisor, and advocate for the organic sector. Merf is Head of the Future Farming Centre at the BHU (Biological Husbandry Unit Organics Trust), where he dedicates himself to science and extension of permanent and whole-system agricultures and horticulture, including organic agriculture, agroecology, and biological farming. He regularly contributes to OrganicsNZ magazine, teaches tertiary students & mentors stepping-stone students at the BHU and sits on the advisory board for OANZ.

Yuriy Soshnikov
Yuriy and Victoria Soshnikov have been the operators of TranzAlpine Honey for the past 18 years. They’ve trailblazed the organic honey industry in New Zealand, becoming the largest organic honey producer and the number one organic honey brand in the country. They’ve exported over 1 million jars of honey worldwide and supply over 50% of organic honey in the EU/UK annually. At the heart of it all, Yuriy is a beekeeper. You will find him alongside other beekeepers, traversing the Canterbury high country in all kinds of weather, collecting honey, checking in on the bees and overseeing everything from harvest to processing, packaging, marketing and export.

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