Rakaia Island – Canterbury, NZ


Working at Rakaia Island provides a rewarding career in the dairy industry and an excellent lifestyle. Ongoing training and strong support systems will give you opportunities to quickly progress to leadership roles within the business.

Family Owned: owned by the Turner family, Rakaia Island Limited is a large dairy farming operation in Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand. The business has over 50 staff and 9,000 KiwiCross cows. Six Dairy Units and a Dry Stock (Dairy Support) Unit are run as one farm, in two locations: Rakaia Island near Southbridge in Canterbury, and Woodstock near Oxford, in North Canterbury.

Shared Values: whilst there are seven Units, we are one collaborative, equal team. Rakaia Island’s culture is based on respect and putting our shared values into action every day. Learn more about working at Rakaia Island

Looking for a career in the dairy industry, not just a job?
Please fill in the Application below. You must state which Current Vacancy you are applying for, or what type of work you are interested in. For dairying work, previous large herd experience is an advantage.

The information below must be attached with your Application:
• CV – Curriculum Vitae
• Cover Letter

If you have queries, contact the Head Office: 03 324 2945 (+64 3 324 2945)
Email: office@rakaiaisland.co.nz


Attach CV* (maximum file size 3MB)

Attach Covering Letter* (maximum file size 3MB)


For dairying work with Rakaia Island, previous large herd experience is an advantage.

Dry Stock Assistant

Located 20 minutes outside of Oxford on Woodstock Farms, the Dry Stock unit comprises 1000ha effective area running 5000 head of young stock in the peak of the season. We are an intensive unit that utilises the rules of grass based dairy farming to grow high quality kiwi cross heifers supplying 6 dairy farms. The health and safety of our staff and the welfare of our animals are our top priorities.

We’re looking for someone to join our team who embodies the values of our farm. 

If this sounds like an environment you’d thrive in, give us a call! We’re looking for an enthusiastic team member who wants to grow quality dairy heifers and can have a laugh while doing it. Responsibilities include stock handling, riding a motorbike, yarding (drench, vaccinations, etc), effluent management, weed control, and more. Accommodation is available as well as the option for weekday lunches.

Essential skills:

Minimum 1 year farming experience (grass based preferred, not essential)
Patience with animals
Comfortable with technology (most reporting on phones, Google sheets, MINDA, etc)
Sense of humour

Preferred skills:

Experience operating heavy machinery
Fencing R&M

The successful applicant will be a New Zealand citizen or have a current NZ work visa, already living in New Zealand and have a current full New Zealand driver’s license. A clean pre-employment drug test will be required and random drug testing is a mandatory company policy – zero drug tolerance.

To apply, please send your CV and cover letter to athol@rakaiaisland.co.nz

Operations Manager

The Operations Manager is a critical part of a small senior leadership team and responsible for managing all 6 dairy units across the Rakaia Island (near Southbridge) and Woodstock (near Oxford) properties.  You’ll be leading a team of 5 Unit Managers and 1 Senior Farm Manager to deliver operational performance excellence in this industry leading business.

In addition to ensuring the delivery of the annual operational plan and the achievement of key performance indicators, this unique role focuses on developing the capability of Rakaia Island’s people.  We’re looking for someone who understands performance is delivered by an empowered team. Someone with the leadership skills to inspire top performance and coach and mentor a team to keep them motivated, engaged and growing their skills and capability with a focus on continuous improvement.

You’ll be supported by a senior leadership team including the CEO, Business Manager and Management Accountant together with an administration team who share Rakaia Island’s strong and supportive family values. 

To succeed in this role you will:

  • Be a top dairy farmer with the technical skill to deliver excellent farm production and best practice management;
  • Have experienced previous success with coaching and developing people to successfully reach their potential;
  • Be an excellent communicator who can set expectations, share a vision, get people excited about what is on the horizon and hold them accountable for their actions;
  • Have experience managing diverse large scale dairy operations across multiple platforms and relating to culturally diverse teams;
  • Share Rakaia Island’s family values and model these through your personal leadership;
  • Be a team player, able to collaborate, build successful relationships, share knowledge and information and contribute positively to the wider business.

This is a really exciting opportunity with the possibility of growth and progression.  

A full position description for this role can be viewed at www.peoplemad.co.nz/current-jobs 

To apply

If you possess the passion, drive and competency required for this role and are drawn by the opportunity to make a difference to this successful family owned New Zealand business, submit your resume and cover letter by email to info@peoplemad.co.nz . Applications close Wednesday 24th July 2019.


Rakaia Island is committed to equal opportunities for all. Our policy is to ensure everyone receives the same treatment regardless of religious belief or political opinion, age, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins), disability, employment status, sexual orientation, and involvement in union activities.

Rakaia Island

Dairy Units 1-4, and Wintering runoff. 34 full-time staff, 5,500 KiwiCross cows.

The majority of Rakaia Island’s mature cows are milked at the Rakaia Island Dairy Units.

Rakaia Island is in Canterbury, at the mouth of the Rakaia River, near Southbridge and Leeston. It is just under an hour south of Christchurch – the South Island’s largest city.

Learn more about Canterbury, Christchurch, Southbridge, Leeston.


Dairy Units 5, 6, and Dry Stock (Dairy Support) Unit. 20 full-time staff, 3000 KiwiCross cows, 2500 young stock.

The Dry Stock Unit raises replacement heifers, provides grazing and pasture for our beef cattle, plus cultivation of winter and supplementary feed.

Woodstock is in North Canterbury near Oxford, about 45 minutes northwest of Christchurch – the South Island’s largest city.

Learn more about Canterbury, Christchurch, Oxford.


All housing offered to staff is top quality and well insulated, with either solid fuel heating, log fires or heat pumps. All housing has garages or undercover parking for vehicles.
A selection of four-bedroom and two or three-bedroom houses are offered to Unit Managers and Farm Managers. Single Quarters are modern; either a shared-house facility or purpose-built accommodation; you will have your own room and en-suite, with shared lounge, kitchen/dining and laundry facilities. Calf rearers may be offered shared accommodation when available. An internet connection is supplied to all Singles Quarters, and is subsidised by Rakaia Island.
Regular house inspections are carried out in order to maintain standards – for your welfare and for asset maintenance.

Mobile Phones
Every staff member is provided with a mobile phone primarily for use on-farm.

Training & Leadership Development
Staff receive on-farm training and further education courses are offered through AgITO. Rakaia Island deducts training fees from staff wages, but on successful completion of any course, the training fee is refunded in full.

Staff Welfare
Because staff welfare is important to Rakaia Island, cooked lunches are provided on weekdays in the dining rooms at both the Southbridge and Woodstock farms. During the months of calving, cooked lunches are provided six times per week.

Pastoral Care
If this is your first job away from home, Rakaia Island has a caring Pastoral Manager to help you settle in, and who will help with your travel arrangements, answer any questions you may have and provide assistance e.g. purchasing bedding linen. The Pastoral Manager is available to all staff to assist with any farm asset or facility – for example, if your washing machine breaks down, should an electrical fault occur, etc. You will find the staff friendly and helpful too, so don’t be afraid to go to them with any questions or for advice.

Social Life
Staff from both Rakaia Island farms regularly get together for events such as barbecue evenings, trivia nights, an end of season dinner, Guy Fawkes and Christmas functions. Most of the functions are held in the Recreation Room at Rakaia Island (adjacent to the Office) and the Christmas get-together is usually held at Woodstock. Often staff will form teams for off-farm touch rugby, netball etc.

  • I did Ag ITO Level 5 while working… Within two years I became 2IC, in four years I became a Unit Manager - a result of support from Management.

    Sam Brar Unit Manager, Dairy 3
  • Rakaia Island is a great company to work for, with lots of progression opportunities available.

    Hayden Otten Unit Manager, Dairy 6
  • The guidance and encouragement I have received from Management is something I’m very grateful for.

    Felipe Sanhueza Unit Manager, Dairy 4
  • If you want to succeed, the team at Rakaia Island will back you 100%!

    Tetyana Koval Unit Manager, Dairy 2

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