Maitland Manning joined NZPork as National Industry Support Manager in May 2021, bringing a wealth of experience in the agricultural sector .
Maitland grew up on a sheep, beef and cropping farm in the Wairarapa, where his experience with pigs began. His family’s pigs were destined for the dinner table.
After gaining his degree in Zoology at Canterbury University, Maitland worked as a technical officer for the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) before heading off on his OE, living in the UK and working for London Underground.
Returning to New Zealand, he worked on biosecurity and groundwater projects for the former HortResearch and Crop and Food Research as a project manager, followed by stints at QEII National Trust, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ.
“My experience at B+LNZ and DairyNZ had a focus on change and helping farmers adapt their farm systems, deal with the stress to and support each other’s mental health,” says Maitland.
“That is all combined in what I am doing now at NZPork.
“When this role came up, one of the attractions was it is a small team, I knew it would be all hands to the pump when issues came up, such as COVID-19, weather events or regulatory change. I am really enjoying the variety of the job and how we can connect directly with farmers. It is very rewarding.
“Also, I had spent years working for farming and research organisations off farm - but I have always been interested in what is happening on farm. So, I really enjoy the time I get to spend with farmers.”
Maitland leads NZPork’s marketing strategy, with the focus of getting New Zealand born and raised pork on to consumers’ plates and raising public awareness about the sector’s high standards.
“Part of that is combating the impact of imported product,” says Maitland.
“A major challenge for farmers is that the cost of producing everything is going up. The cheaper imported pork Kiwis see in New Zealand is produced to lower welfare and environmental standards so there is not a level playing field .
“It’s important we work to make the public aware of the high animal welfare and biosecurity standards in New Zealand pig farming, as well as the high nutritional value of fresh local pork.”
He has also refreshed the sector’s level 4 training courses, helps farmers with immigration issues, oversees PigCare™, an expertly audited animal welfare programme, and a variety of projects from the eating quality of pork through to transport biosecurity.
“I’m really enjoying that variety of work and I am also really enjoying working with this team. This is the third levy organisation I have worked for, and in my experience, the people here are really punching above their weight in terms of the size of the team.
“They have an amazing ability to deal really effectively with all the wide range of issues that come along, while also getting to know farmers on a one-to-one basis.”
In his personal time, Maitland enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking rivers in search of trout and chasing the odd golf ball.