The Big Deer Tour Alumni

The Big Deer Tour Alumni

The Big Deer Tour aims to show participants what makes the deer industry special and to meet and learn from professionals providing services to this sector as well as deer farmers on farm to help them in their future careers.

Deer Industry New Zealand keeps in touch with those who have been on our tours and here is a selection of those who been fortunate enough to take part in the programme and what they are up to today in 2021. More profiles to come so watch this space…

Sam Pike - Big Deer Tour 2018

I took part in the Big Deer Tour in 2018 and I loved it, it was by far the best thing I’d done in all my years at university. We visited the Silver Fern Farms head office as part of our deer tour and something must’ve stuck because after hearing about venison marketing on that trip here I am on their grad programme in 2021 which will give me greater insight to venison and the wider red meat sector. At the moment I’m based in Dunedin, and my current rotation has me starting out with the Transformation team here in the New Zealand head office.

The Big Deer Tour showed me the potential that venison has and the innovation currently happening in the industry, this and my research topic for my Masters of Science at Massey the ‘New Generation Beef’ pilot study has shown me the potential that the Ag and red meat sector has. I have an interest in meat science and innovation, both of which I will look to progress in my working career ahead.

Hugh Jackson - Big Deer Tour 2019

I’m currently based in Southland as a Trainee Consulting Officer with DairyNZ. Originally from Te Akau, I studied a Bachelor of Agricommerce majoring in farm management at Massey University in Palmerston North - looking forward to graduation in a couple weeks (November 2020) after Covid put a delay to the ceremony earlier this year in May.

Although currently working in Dairy, I have a keen interest in all facets of agriculture. I studied a paper in my last year at uni which triggered an interest in deer and I love the product diversity and its various outputs from velvet to venison! I still keep an interest in what’s going on in the industry and took part in an online deer rural professional’s workshop which ran over lockdown, this included 4 weekly modules on environmental stewardship and good management.  Although deer related it had ideas relevant to all sectors, I’d recommend getting stuck into some of these deer rural professional workshops if you can.

For a review of that workshop see >>

I’ll continue to be involved in what’s going on in the deer industry, it’s a fascinating industry to continue to learn about and full of awesome people who are passionate about what they do. I will use my learnings thus far to develop my skillset further to help me in my career!

Kate Stewart - Big Deer Tour 2017

I’m currently in Palmerston North working with Dairy NZ as a Consulting Officer looking after the Horowhenua and Manawatu areas, I went into this role as part of the grad programme after completing a Bachelor of AgriScience degree, majoring in Agriculture at Massey.

In 2017, I took part in the first DINZ Big Deer Tour and I loved it. I have learnt a great deal in my current role from the farmers that I work with, some of whom have deer mixed into their farm operations. From my deer experience at uni and in particular going on the tour in 2017, I’m able to hold deer conversations so farmers that I currently work with appreciate that when they can share their deer stories with me !

I love the extension part of my role, it gives me the opportunity to gain new ideas and knowledge while seeing things in practice. Long term, I one day aim to be back on-farm using all the knowledge I’ve gained.

Brianna Lee-Kelleher - Big Deer Tour 2017

I am currently working as Nutrient Specialist for Ballance Agri-Nutrients in the North Wairarapa after finishing my degree back in 2017. While at Massey I was keen on pasture and soil science and gained an AgriScience degree majoring in Agriculture.

I’ve always had a passion for deer farming after growing up on a deer farm on the Napier-Taihape road. In my role at Ballance I work with sheep and beef farmers including those with deer to better meet their on farm nutrient, feed production and environmental needs.

The tour in 2017 went a long way to provide me with skills to prepare me for the next stage of my working life and it is a trip I will remember for a life time. It gave me insight into the industry and an understanding of deer systems, which has been a great help to me in my current role. To add value to my farmers I need to be able to understand them and how their unique systems operate. Deer industry and farming understanding has allowed me to better relate to, and have greater insight into my farmers businesses to help them meet their production goals.

I will be forever grateful for the experience of the Big Deer Tour and all that I learnt. I believe the learnings and passion it inspired will remain with me for the rest of my working career and life.


Ben Orchard – Big Deer Tour 2019

I completed my Bachelor of AgriCommerce degree at the end of 2019 with Massey University, from there I have worked part time with AgFirst consultancy in Feilding before moving fulltime onto the BNZ Agribusiness Graduate Programme in February 2020 where I am based in Palmerston North.

There are a small number of deer farms/ deer incorporated into beef and sheep systems in the Manawatu area so I have and will continue to spend time working with deer farmers in some capacity. The deer tour last year certainly helped me build an understanding of the industry which greatly assists me today.



Henry Waller – Big Deer Tour 2017

I am currently in Northland working as a Rural Farm Valuer with TelferYoung Limited after graduating from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Land and Property Management.

The family farm on the South Head, Kaipara Peninsula has deer on it but The Big Deer Tour opened my eyes to the wider industry which I believe is truly underrated particularly with its genetics and velvet products. The tour gave me valuable contacts in the Ag industry to call on and gave me a greater understanding of deer which helps me in my role today as a rural professional.



Kate Peddie - Big Deer Tour 2018

After completing my studies and gaining a bachelor of Agriscience (Major in Agriculture) in 2018 from Massey, I am currently working as a Research Agronomist for Germinal NZ in Canterbury. Germinal NZ is an Irish/GB seed company looking to grow their brand in NZ, we have deer farm clients on our books who use our products particularly clover!

The Big Deer Tour gave me a greater understanding of the deer industry which I use in my current role and I follow with interest what is happening in the industry. I hope to see myself in the industry at some point in future - it has an appeal that many other ag sectors lack.


James Robertson – Big Deer Tour 2017

I am currently working for Fonterra as a Technical Assistant after joining the Fonterra Graduate programme at the end of my studies at Massey University.

Although not working in the red meat sector, I always keep in touch on what is happening in the sector and have a passion for the marketing of red meat and particularly venison.

The Big Deer Tour gave me a great opportunity to make new contacts and helped in my quest to become the 2019 NZ Young Farmer of the Year.



Chloe Belfield - Big Deer Tour 2018

After completing my studies and gaining a bachelor of AgriScience majoring in Agriculture in 2018 from Massey University, I am now currently based near Dunedin where I have recently taken up the role of Area Manager for Fonterra in Otago.

I have a love of all things agriculture and the red meat sector even though I am currently working in the dairy space. After taking part in the Big Deer Tour in 2018 I hope to one day be working in the deer industry as I believe it is important to have diversity in terms of income and not to put all the eggs in one basket.