The panel presentation will be facilitated by our event MC Julian Blanchard and will include 3 presenters talking about their local exports, produce and innovation. 

The topic is: Primary Exports & Innovation, South Canterbury Stories.

Each presenter will focus on a current product or innovation that has been applied to their business, outlining the opportunities, the challenges this created and how these have been overcome.

Our Primary Produce Panel speakers include:


ARA institute of Canterbury: tony gray


Tony Gray was appointed Chief Executive of Ara Institute of Canterbury in September 2017 having previously been Chief Executive of NMIT in Nelson for eleven years.  He has a long career in the tertiary education sector in both private industry training and polytechnics.
Tony came to New Zealand from the UK in 2003 to take up a role as Chief Executive for the privately owned Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth, where he also had responsibility for the ORION Hotel Schools group in Australia, China and Switzerland. Before that he was Chief Executive of Brooksby College and Brooksby Melton College of Further and Higher Education in Leicestershire, UK. He was one of the UK Tertiary Sectors Inspection team for Colleges of Further and Higher Education.
Before immigrating to New Zealand, Tony was a member of several national and regional UK education organisations, as well holding a Ministerial appointment to the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council.
Tony is a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management; he was part of the NZQA Expert Advisory Group for Quality Assurance reforms for the tertiary sector; chairs the Tertiary Accord New Zealand (TANZ) Board, and is a member of the NZQA Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics Advisory Group.


michelle pye: pye group

Michelle and her husband Leighton, own and operate Pye Group, a large scale agricultural business with dairy, cropping, process vegetable, grazing and contracting operations. In 2017 Pye Group won the supreme award at the South Canterbury Business Excellence Awards. The agriculture industry has seen a huge amount of change in recent years and Pye Group have adapted their systems to embrace these changes.
Michelle has a financial background and along with working within the business she is involved in industry groups including the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, the Fonterra Sustainability Panel, judging NZ Dairy Industry Awards and chairing a potato seed co-op.
Creating a sustainable business that is respected in the community and provides for generations to come is important to Michelle and Leighton.