Dave Sinton enjoys putting on a record at home. PHOTO/JADE DAVIES

JADE DAVIES
jade.davies@age.co.nz

The first time Dave Sinton moved to Masterton, it was 1986. The second time was 1994, and there wasn’t a third – he is still here.

Sinton has handed in his notice at Fonterra, one of the two companies he worked for in his life. Before working as an area manager for Fonterra, he spent 40 years at ANZ. In both roles, Sinton assisted the farmers of Wairarapa.

After moving several times, Sinton and his wife decided to “anchor” in Masterton in 1994.

“It ticked a lot of boxes. It’s a good place to bring up kids,” Sinton said.

In 2004, he left the bank and took eight months off. He returned to work as an area manager for Fonterra in September 2005 and was soon known as “the face of Fonterra”.

He spent his time “helping farmers to deal with changes in what they needed to do in terms of compliance and environmentally improving farming”.

After working alongside farmers for decades, he said the hardest part of retiring was giving up close relationships he had built with farmers and their families.

“Because I had some dairy farmers as customers in the bank, I’ve seen the next generation own the farms so you become an important part of the whole picture.”

Letting go of the job meant he would have more time for community initiatives, which he was no stranger to.

Sinton still chaired the charitable trust of the Masterton Rotary Club, was a trustee on the Community Health Trust’s board of trustees, and a broadcaster on Arrow FM every Friday from 7-9pm.

“The Rotary club gives out money mainly to young people,” Sinton said.

“There are some outstanding young people in Wairarapa and sometimes they just need a little bit of help to get them on their way.”

As part of the club, Sinton was involved in turning a dairy farm to Henley Lake with support from the council.

He said the group wanted to make it into “something special”.

As well as putting gates in at Te Ore Ore Rd and Colombo Rd, “we were instrumental in putting up the shed which is now known as the Men’s Shed”.

“The latest project we worked on was putting in an 18-hole disc golf course that will be a great asset for Masterton.

“There are still things happening with the Rotary club, so it will keep me involved.”

Sinton said he did not support the initiatives due to ego, but because he had certain skills he knew would be helpful.

“And also, it’s difficult to say no,” he said.

When it came to fitting it all in, Sinton said he wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of his late wife, who he lost in 2019, and his kids.

“You do need to have a support mechanism, and there’s no question that Elaine was my support mechanism all the way through.

“You can’t have that level of involvement without an understanding wife and kids.”

With no intentions to stop giving back to the community, at 71 years old Sinton felt that it was the right time to leave his full-time job.

“I think you have to accept that even though you love working, you can’t go on forever,” he said.

“Your contributions are either going to diminish a little bit, or you’re going to get sick of it. It’s best to leave at a time when you’re still contributing fully to your job and you’re enjoying it.”

He said he had a few “plans in the pipeline” but would be putting his feet up for the next few weeks.

As a long-time resident, Sinton said he had watched as the region evolved.

“Back in 1986, Masterton wasn’t exactly on everyone’s ‘want list’ to live in. It was a lot different.

“Now, it’s more welcoming for people coming in. The population has obviously grown, and I think there’s more diversity, and that’s got to be a good thing.”



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