From our board to our farm staff, people are the lifeblood of our organisation. We want our people to be the best they can be and to help us operate our farms to the highest level possible. To ensure this is possible we work hard to develop a culture of excellence, promote career path opportunities within the company and provide positive working environments for all our people. We also offer development programmes, mentoring and regular performance reviews to all our staff. In return we are met with positive, eager staff who have a genuine desire to succeed.

Our Board

Ian Farrelly
Independent Chairman

Ian has had a career of over 20 years in the banking industry including 15 years with ASB where he headed up the rural division, growing it from scratch to become a key player with over 200 staff and almost a 20 percent market share of rural lending.

He owns large dairy and beef farming interests in the Waikato, lives on his 400 hectare calf rearing enterprise in Te Awamutu and has ownership in dairy farms in the South Island. Ian holds a number of other directorship roles including Fonterra Group, First Mortgage Managers, Spectrum Group.

Paul Fitzgibbon
Independent Director

After completing a farm management and rural valuation degree at Lincoln University, Paul worked as a farm valuer in Gisborne. Paul gained an accounting degree from Canterbury University and, after identifying Southland as the area with the most potential for growth in agriculture, moved to Gore to set up his own accounting practice. Through his business Paul provided management and taxation advice to aggressive growth-oriented farmers

Jane Huria
Independent Director

Jane has broad-based commercial experience including law, insurance, market research and the financial markets. Having held a broad range of directorships over the past 21 years, she has significant governance, strategy and organisation development experience.

Jane has worked with a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors and Iwi Maori organisations. Jane is Ngai Tahu and affiliates to Ngai Tuahuriri. She is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and has written and delivered public and tailored training seminars for the Institute. Jane has also worked in governance throughout the Commonwealth and is a faculty member of the World Bank’s Global Corporate Governance Forum.

In 2012 Jane was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to corporate governance

Mike Fleming
Director & Company Advisor

Mike held the role of Executive Chair for two years and Managing Director for 18 months before becoming Company Advisor. He has been involved with corporate and large scale family-owned farming businesses for more than 15 years and through this involvement has developed long term relationships with a variety of key stakeholders in the agribusiness industry.

Mike’s early involvement in the industry was as an agribusiness consultant working with farm owners on governance, succession planning, strategy formulation, management structure, human resource management, investment analysis and well as fundamental disciplines of plant and animal management.

Mike is a member of the Fonterra Governance Development Programme alumni and member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and the NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management.

David Dodunski
Director & Company Advisor

David and his wife Kay are the founders of Fortuna Group. David held the role of Managing Director for two years before becoming Executive Director. Born in the Bay of Plenty and employed as a building apprentice in Rotorua, David moved on from building and tackled sharemilking on one of the steepest dairy farms in the country, starting with 31 cows on town supply and increasing to 160 cows on factory supply.

Over the past 20 years he has successfully converted and developed over 30 blocks of land and is currently milking 3500 cows, most 100 percent owned and some as joint ventures. He owns the support land on all of his dairy units, which have all been designed to a high standard with a genuine desire to look after the farmland.

Felix McGirr

Felix brings a wealth of dairy expertise to Fortuna having spent the last two years with Craigmore Dairy Partnership and prior to that five years with MyFarm. Felix been involved in operational farm management, farm development and governance. Brought up on a family farm, Felix began his dairy farming career after returning from travel overseas on farms in the Manawatu, and then Taupo. From 1997 through to 2006, Felix was share-milking across two farms, one in Manawatu and one in North Canterbury. In 2005 Felix took off in another direction, qualifying as a commercial helicopter pilot. With his pilot’s license, he spent two seasons mustering from the air in Queensland, and carrying out vineyard protection work back on the South Island of NZ. Deciding to get his feet back on the ground, Felix completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Lincoln University, and became a dairy nutrition consultant for the Dairy Business Centre in Ashburton. Felix has excellent experience and knowledge in cow nutrition and feed management and is a member of the Australian Association of Ruminant Nutritionists


Matthew Richards
Chief Executive Officer

Matthew and his wife learned to farm when they spent three years in Foxton. They soon doubled their farm’s production record which initiated their dairy farming opportunities. They were given the opportunity to go 50/50 sharemilking with former employers who had moved to Southland.

The pair took up this challenge and have since grown their business each year. This has involved sharemilking, equity partnerships and farm ownership. In the five years before joining Fortuna Group, Matthew managed 2500 cows over three properties, gaining beneficial experience for his current role. He also has extensive involvement in board and chair roles of leading industry good organisations including the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, Federated Farmers, AgITO Regional Committee and Southern Dairy Development Trust.

Pete Bruce
Senior Operations Manager

A born and bred southern man, Pete started work on a sheep and beef farm straight out of school and advanced his skills in the industry with a Diploma of Agriculture and Bachelor of Commerce (Ag) at Lincoln University. He then gained two years’ experience on a 1,200 cow dairy farm in Canterbury before returning south to work on Dave and Kay’s home farm in 2004.

With his partner Melinda, Pete bought into Peat View Dairies in 2011 and took over the role as full time supervisor with Fortuna Group in early 2015. Pete loves being a dad to Mia and Toby and when he catches a spare moment, he enjoys relaxing in the garden.

Bryony Sanson
Chief Financial Officer

After first arriving in NZ 14 years ago onto a dairy farm in Reefton, Bryony has come full circle and returned to the dairy sector to continue to pursue her interest in farming. Bryony grew up on a banana farm in South Africa and always had a goal to return to a career in farming once she had the required experience. Bryony moved to Hamilton after calving and returned to working in the accounting field for ABB before moving to NDA for 8 years where she was the NZ finance manager as well as holding the role of Group Accountant and looking after the audit and finance aspects for NDA as it grew from being NZ based to purchasing engineering shops in the US and Australia. Bryony’s interest in farming and animals motivated her to move to VetSouth where she was the CFO for a business that was in a strong growth position, oversaw the acquisition of another veterinary clinic and set up reporting structures to assist the business to reach its strategic objectives. Bryony is looking forward to working with all stakeholders in Fortuna to make Fortuna the best dairy farming business that delivers on all aspects of its purpose every day.