Robin Murphy

Robin Murphy’s dedication to irrigation has gone beyond most farmers.

Glenavy dairy farmer Robin Murphy has received recognition for being the driving force behind irrigation development in the Waimate district for several decades.

The irrigation champion was awarded the Ron Cox Memorial Award at the IrrigationNZ biennial conference dinner in Oamaru on Wednesday.

A day before receiving the award Murphy saw many years of effort come to fruition with the opening of the $32m Waihao Downs irrigation project.

A long-standing chairman of the Morven Glenavy Ikawai (MGI) Irrigation scheme, he had overseen several projects which have improved the viability and reach of the scheme. His dedication extended to the voluntary management of the company before the appointment of general manager Craig Evans.

A firm believer in the need to address environmental issues early on, he saw securing an environmental flow for the Waihao River as vital when the scheme applied for consent for the northern extension. MGI started testing water quality before it was required under consent.

“We did this because we believed having information was important. Data is crucial,” Murphy said.

Murphy believed putting farm environment plans in place for all shareholders would be advantageous under Environment Canterbury’s new land and water plan requirements.

“The farm environment plan system for me has been absolutely tremendous. We acknowledge we haven’t got everything right but they’re great assets to have as we go into nutrient planning.”

Murphy has contributed to the book “Water gives life” documenting MGI’s history. He has overseen the opening of new MGI’s offices in Glenavy, and the employment of an environmental officer and general manager.

Murphy’s dedication to the cause has taken him away from home regularly.

“I have always believed you need to be involved in your industry to the fullest,” he said.