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

Dry Stock Manager

The Dry Stock Manager is based at the Woodstock Farm near Oxford in Canterbury and is responsible for managing the runoff support blocks and raising approximately 5,000 dairy replacements in total each year. Calf rearing is also a significant part of the role and there can be up to 700 calves to rear during the season at Woodstock with responsibility for grazing up to 2,500 depending on the season. 

The Dry Stock Manager is responsible for leading a small team and ensuring collaboration and best use of resources to enhance performance and productivity.  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 and sustainability within the unit.

The Dry Stock Manager is supported by the Operations Manager and an administration team who share Rakaia Island’s strong and supportive family values. Rakaia Island’s culture of continuous improvement and collaboration means there is also good support across the wider business.

To succeed in this role you will:

  • Be an experienced farmer with the dairy dry stock experience and the technical skill to deliver excellent results and best practice management;
  • Have the management and leadership skill to develop 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 working in a large scale dairy operation with culturally diverse teams;
  • Take pride in the farm presentation and the assets used as part of the role;
  • 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 within a very successful dairy farming business.  A four-bedroom home is available for the Dry Stock Manager and their family with school bus not far from the gate.

A full position description for this role can be viewed here.

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@tambo.co.nz. Applications close Wednesday 19th June.

Dairy Assistant

We are looking for 2x experienced dairy assistants to join our team. You will be part of a team of 13 running 3,000 cows through 2 internal rotary cowsheds, 1 shed 80 bales, the other shed 54 bales. Milking twice a day, your duties will include, but aren’t limited to, setting up the shed and bringing cows in for milking, assisting with milking, identifying and treating cows for health problems, setting up and moving break fences, pasture assessment, assisting with calving and mating requirements and light tractor work.

At least 6 months prior NZ Dairy Farming with herd sizes of 1,000+ cows is required for this position, as well as having a full valid Drivers Licence and be able to pass a pre-employment drug test, random drug testing is a mandatory company policy-zero drug tolerance.
To be eligible, you must be a New Zealand resident or hold a valid New Zealand work visa.

A full position description for this role can be viewed here.

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


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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