NEWS RELEASE   August 01, 2023

John Deere New Zealand Technicians Head Across the Ditch to Compete for Top Honour

Crestmead, Queensland (1 August, 2023) — PREVIOUS award winners, a mature aged apprentice who used to service photocopiers and a female rugby player are just some of the nine New Zealand finalists vying for recognition as the best of the best at the 2023 John Deere Technician of the Year Awards.

The Awards, now in their third year, were established to acknowledge the important contribution John Deere technicians make to the New Zealand agriculture, construction and forestry industries and to applaud excellence in the provision of service and support to John Deere customers.

The finalists will travel to the company's Australian headquarters in Brisbane this month for a second round of judging where they will be tested on their ability to perform hands-on tasks and troubleshoot technical issues.

John Deere Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Luke Chandler, congratulated the finalists recognising the enormous value they bring to their industries and the communities in which they live and work in.

"We received more than 100 award nominations from 62 John Deere dealerships across New Zealand and Australia, which showcases the depth of the talent we are proud to have supporting our customers," Mr Chandler said.

"Technicians require a unique combination of mechanical knowledge, proficiency in digital technology and advanced problem-solving skills, and becoming a finalist in the annual awards is a testament to the hard work and dedication our technicians inject into their roles.

"Each finalist has a proven track record of helping farmers and businesses unlock greater productivity and sustainability achievements through technology, and they should be very proud of rising to the top of a very competitive field."

Seven titles will be awarded across five categories in the 2023 John Deere Technician Awards including individual country awards for both the Agriculture & Turf Service Technician of the Year and Parts Technician of the Year. One award winner, from either New Zealand or Australia, will be announced as the Service Apprentice of the Year, Parts Apprentice of the Year and the Construction & Forestry Service Technician of the Year.

Building career pathways through apprenticeships

John Deere Australia and New Zealand Director of Aftermarket and Customer Support, Emma Ford, said one of the highlights of the annual awards was seeing the calibre and diversity of the apprentices coming through the pipeline.

"This year, our New Zealand finalists include a mature age apprentice who has transferred from parts to a career as a service technician, a young technician whose mentor helped forge his path, and a female rugby player who grew up on dairy farm," Ms Ford said.

"While they're all diverse in their experience and background, what they have in common is a deep enthusiasm to learn and commitment to deliver exceptional aftermarket service to their customers.

"Being a John Deere technician offers a rewarding career path with potential for growth and professional development, and we look forward to seeing our apprentice finalists in action later this month."

The Award winners will be announced at the John Deere Technician of the Year Awards gala event on Thursday, 24 August 2023.


(Biographies below)

Agriculture & Turf Service Technician of the Year

(will compete for a New Zealand only Award)

  • Greg Bishop, Otago Farm Machinery, Mosgiel, South Island
  • Bryce Dickson, Brandt, Whangarei, North Island

Parts Technician of the Year

(will compete for a New Zealand only Award)

  • Mollie Clarke, Brandt, Gisborne, North Island
  • Jimmy O'Donnell, Drummond & Etheridge, Blenheim, South Island

Construction & Forestry Technician of the Year

(will compete against two Australian finalists for a combined Australian/New Zealand Award)

  • Nick Fargher, Brandt, Feilding, North Island
  • Mark Haughton, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island

Service Apprentice of the Year

(will compete against four Australian finalists for a combined Australian/New Zealand Award)

  • Dylan Bruce, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island
  • Tom Fyfe, Brandt, Rotorua, North Island

Parts Apprentice of the Year

(will compete against five Australian finalists for a combined Australian/New Zealand Award)

  • Paige Hunter, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island



Greg Bishop, Otago Farm Machinery, Mosgiel, South Island

After taking home the title of New Zealand John Deere Technician of the Year Award in 2022, Greg Bishop is proud to again be nominated for the coveted title this year. Holding dual trades in heavy diesel and auto electrics, Greg has spent most of his career in agriculture – working for many years as a dairy farmer and then as a tractor driver on a station in the region's high country.

Based at Otago Farm Machinery in Mosgiel, west of Dunedin, Greg says he has always been interested in mechanical systems, from pulling apart all his brothers' toys as a youth to fixing up motorbikes and vehicles. It made sense for him to become a mechanic. While his favourite part of the job is travelling around Otago's countryside and providing high-quality servicing and repairs to farmers, Greg says he also likes catching up with his customers and meeting all the farm dogs during his visits.

Bryce Dickson, Brandt, Whangarei, North Island

A self-professed 'petrol head', Bryce Dickson started his career in the automotive industry before shifting gears into agriculture at the start of the global financial crisis. While it was a steep learning curve, Bryce was able to transition his skills using the principles he had learned servicing cars and is now recognised as a Master Technician from the John Deere University.

Whether it's diagnosing complex problems with tractors, helping farmers adopt and implement precision agriculture technologies, or optimising equipment performance, Bryce says each day presents new opportunities to learn and grow. His technical skills and outstanding customer service saw him awarded the inaugural recipient of John Deere's Technician of the Year award in 2021.

His first-hand experience owning a small farm of breeding cows gives him a deeper understanding of the needs and demands of farmers. Bryce finds it incredibly fulfilling to mentor apprentices and see them blossom into skilled technicians, and he's making the most of new opportunities from the expansion of Brandt Whangarei into Construction & Forestry equipment.


Mollie Clarke, Brandt, Gisborne, North Island

Mollie Clarke has deep roots in the agricultural industry having grown up spending time working on her family's farm. After leaving school, she stumbled upon a parts technician position at her local John Deere dealership and, after her first few days at work, knew she had found the industry she wanted to not only be part of, but to excel in.

Mollie is renowned by customers for her excellent communication skills and extensive knowledge of John Deere equipment which she consistently develops by completing additional training offered through John Deere and the Brandt Gisborne dealership. During her day-to-day work, Mollie enjoys her interaction with customers and fellow colleagues. As someone who thrives in team environments, she is an avid hockey player, and currently represents her local country club, Ngatapa in the sport.

Jimmy O'Donnell, Drummond & Etheridge, Blenheim, South Island

After spending eleven years working as a service technician for a photocopier company, Jimmy O'Donnell saw a job advertisement in the newspaper for a parts technician at his local John Deere dealership and made the leap to switch careers. He secured the role and two years later is proud his enthusiasm and reputation has earned him a finalist spot at the John Deere Technician Awards.

Jimmy has been fascinated by machinery since childhood and growing up on his family's farm he loved seeing how the graders, snow groomers and tractors worked. The most rewarding part of the job for Jimmy is interacting with customers and his service technician colleagues. He enjoys the problem-solving aspect of the role and has earned a reputation for his extensive knowledge of John Deere machinery, with customers often asking for him by name to source and secure parts for them.


Nick Fargher, Brandt, Feilding, North Island

Born into a family of machinery owners and operators, Nick Fargher has always had a passion for mechanics and machine diagnostics. Starting his career servicing mixed brands, Nick fell in love with John Deere products and began working solely on John Deere Construction and Forestry equipment in 2020. No stranger to the John Deere Technician Awards, Nick is proud to have been named a finalist twice since the awards inception in 2021.

His enthusiasm for his work is grounded in his belief that the forestry industry is a pillar of the New Zealand economy, and he is proud of the role he plays in supporting the sector. Nick enjoys the diversity of the job, including seeing some of New Zealand's best scenery when he visits customers. He welcomes every opportunity to upskill, attending additional training offered through John Deere and learning from his fellow colleagues.

He is committed to ensuring his customers' needs are met and understands the importance service support has in ensuring operators can get the most efficiency out of their equipment. Nick thrives in a challenging environment and his technical knowledge and ability to offer guidance and support to his team has established him as a leader in the field.

Mark Haughton, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island

Becoming a John Deere Construction & Forestry Technician was somewhat of a calling for Mark Haughton, who has had a love for machinery since childhood. Mark began his career through an automotive apprenticeship, before travelling to Western Australia to work in the mining industry. He later returned home to New Zealand to work with John Deere.

Mark is considered one of the leaders in his field and was proud to secure the title of 2021 New Zealand John Deere Construction and Forestry Service Technician of the Year at the inaugural John Deere Technician Awards.

Mark enjoys the challenges that come with the job, with a typical day seeing him travel to some of New Zealand's most remote areas. He has exceptional technical skills and knowledge of John Deere equipment and understands the importance of providing quality service and using specialist diagnostic tools to solve problems and build trust with his customers.

Mark is proud to not only represent the John Deere brand but also support the construction and forestry industries by providing these expert services.


Dylan Bruce, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island

Dylan Bruce's career journey shows the value of having a good mentor. During school, his interest in machinery and fixing equipment was noticed by a proactive neighbour who owned a forklift repair business and offered him a job straight after graduation. When he saw how much Dylan enjoyed working on engines, he encouraged him to apply for work experience with a local heavy diesel company to further his skills. This led to an apprenticeship with John Deere Drummond & Etheridge dealership in Nelson before a transfer to the Rolleston branch, south of Christchurch, where he's completing his apprenticeship as a Service Technician.

Currently in the third and final year of his apprenticeship, Dylan has progressed from working on lawn mowers to agricultural tractors and is now applying his trade to the John Deere construction and forestry equipment. Dylan says his career highlight has been the shift from servicing equipment in the workshop to being out in the field with customers, as well making the finals of the 2023 John Deere Technician Awards.

Tom Fyfe, Brandt, Rotorua, North Island

Tom Fyfe's advice for anyone in a workshop or dealership is to ask questions, and he should know. After 15 years in agricultural parts, including eight years as Parts Manager at Brandt in Rotorua, Tom started a heavy diesel apprenticeship in late November last year. He's proud of making the transition to being an apprentice in the workshop, where he has continued to be an important part of a strong, tightly-knit team.

For Tom, support in the workplace is important, and as a mature-aged apprentice, he plays a significant role as a mentor, helping other apprentices get focused on their bookwork. He enjoys working with his team mates to collectively advance their knowledge, skills and careers and always takes the opportunity to learn from those around him including field service technicians and the sales team.


Paige Hunter, Drummond & Etheridge, Rolleston, South Island

Paige Hunter has deep roots within the agriculture industry, having grown up on a dairy farm and seeing firsthand the important role machinery plays in farming from an early age. Looking for her first full-time job, she knew she wanted to remain in the industry and stumbled upon a role in the parts department at her local John Deere dealership. A year-and-a-half later, the first-year apprentice is well on her way to being a leader in her field. She enjoys the variety offered by her role and loves that she can work with a wide range of John Deere equipment – from lawn mowers to tractors, to combine harvesters, as well as construction and forestry parts.

Although early in her career, Paige is committed to upskilling and has used her organisational and communication skills to build trust with her customers. She has also taken on the responsibility of all incoming and outgoing freight for her branch in her first year on the job, which she is proud of. As well as being a valued team player at work, Paige plays for her local rugby team and coaches an Under 18 boys' side.

About John Deere:

Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at or in New Zealand at

Media Contacts:

Kate Scott
0438 389 092

Grace Wickson
0432 748 837