Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Ambassador visits dairy farm in Winton, Southland

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As part of the Philippine Embassy’s priority to reach out to Filipinos in various sectors in New Zealand, promote their welfare and well-being as well as recognize their vital roles and contributions to nation-building in the Philippines and New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez visited a dairy farm managed by a Filipino in Winton, Southland on 18 May 2014. Ambassador Benavidez, accompanied by Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Q. Obach, Ms. Dorothea Hawkins, Southland Filipino Society, Inc. (SFSI) Chairman, and her husband, Mr. John Hawkins, met with dairy farm manager, Mr. Irving Solis, and his family.

Mr. Solis warmly welcomed his guests in his home, provided a tour and gave a briefing on his farm’s operations. He showed how he segregated his cows according to “fatties” and “skinnies” so that they are given the corresponding “tender loving care (TLC)” that they need. Mr. Solis also introduced Ambassador Benavidez to his employer, Mr. Chris Withy, who acknowledged and appreciated the work and talent of his Filipino farm manager. This adds again to the unanimous and heartwarming feedback gathered by Ambassador Benavidez from farm owners, managers and officers of farmers’ organizations, as well as from the leaders and people of New Zealand, about the hugely important contributions of Filipinos in the dairy farms throughout the country and how they have changed the dynamics of the farms with their positive work ethics, sacrificial service, exemplary performance and commendable skills. “Together with the other Filipinos in the dairy sector whose works and talents have been recognized in New Zealand, you continue to do our country and people proud. Your work here is truly admirable and impressive!” Ambassador Benavidez stated.

Inspired by his wife, Gemma, and children, Ivy Gabrielle (6) and Garth Irvin (3), Mr. Solis continues to pursue his career successfully. He has won 2013 Senior Dairy Trainee of the Year and 2012 Outstanding Senior Trainee of the Year at the AgriAwards Southland of the Agriculture ITO (International Training Organization). He is currently finishing his Diploma in Agribusiness Management.

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