Blue River Dairy

Southland better workplaces and wellness advocate wins national award

Blue River Dairy People and Capability Manager, Abbigail Surridge was announced as the winner of the Emerging HR Practitioner category at the NZ HR Awards on Tuesday.

Over 400 leading HR professionals gathered at the 2022 NZ HR Awards in Auckland to celebrate the outstanding Human Resources professionals and organisations leading meaningful change and best practice across Aotearoa.

Abbigail said she was excited but also really nervous to attend the awards ceremony on Tuesday evening.

“The HR space has had a lot of challenges over the past few years, and I knew that I was going up against some incredible professionals,” Surridge said.

When her name was announced as the winner, she said all her nerves were replaced with happiness and it hit her how incredible her achievement was.

Abbigail joined Invercargill based Blue River Dairy three years ago as an Executive Assistant and developed her skillset, moving into her current position of People and Capability Manager.

During this time, the company experienced significant growth and Abbigail had been instrumental in developing a strong workplace culture.

“The past few years have been really big at Blue River as we’ve achieved a lot in the People and Capability space, and all of those achievements have only been possible because of the support from our amazing people at Blue River Dairy,” Surridge said.

A key driver in establishing a strong workplace culture was the creation and implementation of Blue River Dairy’s ‘Healthy Me’ wellbeing programme.

The programme, tackling subjects on stress, sleep and mental resilience, won the Workplace Wellbeing Award 2019 presented at the Southland Business Excellence Awards.

Abbigail said the support and reaction from Blue River Dairy had been incredible.

“The amount of congratulations from the team has been overwhelming, and everyone has been so excited which makes the win feel bigger being shared with the team,” Surridge said.

With lots happening in the HR space globally, Abbigail’s next endeavour is to see how these trends translate to New Zealand, Southland and Blue River Dairy.

“I’d also like to see how we are supporting new local superstars into HR roles in an industry that is experiencing a skills shortage,” Surridge said.

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