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Posthumous honour for Tulloch

Graeme Tulloch’s daughter, Christine, and son, John, receiving the Ron Cocks Memorial Award on behalf of their late father, last month. Also pictured is Keri Johnston, chairwoman of Irrigation NZ PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Prominent Wairarapa farming figure Graeme Tulloch has been recognised for dedicating his working life to improving performance and efficiencies in the agricultural sector.

Graeme Tulloch. PHOTO/FILE

Tulloch, who died in November last year, aged 83, was the first North Island recipient of the Ron Cocks Memorial Award, presented by Irrigation New Zealand last month.

“Entrepreneurial, innovative and hard-working, Tulloch forged a hugely successful career, both on and off the farm,” a Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme spokesperson said.

For many decades, the name Tulloch has been synonymous with farm machinery, an importing and manufacturing business that Tulloch started with his father and brother in the 1960s.

At its height, Tulloch Farm Machinery had more than 50 dealerships stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill, a spokesperson said.

As a farming business, his TSM Farms Ltd is equally impressive. The business which was formed in 2002 included four farms: two dairy farms, a sheep and beef farm, and a cropping farm, all across Wairarapa, a spokesperson said.

Tulloch’s company celebrated 50 years in business last year, and was first formed by Graeme’s father William Tulloch in 1963.

William Tulloch established DW Tulloch and Company Ltd with his two sons David and Graeme Tulloch.

In 1965, the company was selling and servicing farm equipment but pivoted a few years later, becoming an importer and distributor of farm machinery.

The spokesperson said Tulloch was widely recognised as one of Wairarapa’s most knowledgeable and innovative farmers.

Tulloch was a “long-term thinker and early adopter of new ideas. He was always prepared to push the envelope to find solutions to securing reliable water for irrigation. He was a leading figure in initiating discussions about establishing a more reliable source of water for Wairarapa,” a spokesperson said.

Graeme Tullochs’s son John Tulloch said, what sparked his father’s passion for water and water use was the 1997-98 drought and the impact it had on Wairarapa farming community.

He successfully helped lobby government to fund a research project into the potential for water storage schemes in Wairarapa, which started in the early 2000s.

Tulloch remained a strong advocate for a region-wide water storage scheme, of the view that it was the “single biggest thing we can do to make this district grow”.

“He was passionate about the value of water to unlock production and economic gain for all,” John Tulloch said.

While not directly involved with the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme project, his early leadership, vision, and guidance had a major influence on the investigations progressing to the stage where the community water storage scheme now looks increasingly likely, a spokesperson for the project said.

Even in his retirement he was still involved with his farming businesses and was always looking for ways to progress further farm developments, John Tulloch said.

“He was truly an amazing man, and although he struggled with dyslexia, he turned what could’ve been a negative into a positive.

“He worked around the weaknesses of struggling to read and write, and ultimately it made him stronger … things that should’ve been setbacks he turned to his advantage, and that was one of the important things he taught me.”

Tulloch was extremely generous in his willingness to share with others his knowledge and experience. He led by example, setting a benchmark in farming innovation from which many other farmers and businesses followed, a spokesperson said.

On Local Government, he served four terms as a Masterton District Council councillor, one term as a South Wairarapa district councillor.

He had a long stint on the Wellington Harbour Board as well as numerous directorships.

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