Changing career fuels passion for dairy

31 March 2021

An aspiring beauty therapist has made the switch to dairy farming, where Waikato woman Tyla Ireland has found her calling.

After finishing high school, Tyla pursued a career in beauty therapy, becoming a qualified therapist two years ago. She was excited to turn her passion into what she thought would be a lifelong career.

“At school I enjoyed having my nails done and doing my makeup, but what really sparked my interest was the opportunity to make others more confident in their appearance,” said Tyla.

“I was excited to start my first job but found there weren’t many opportunities for new graduates. I decided to look at short-term calf rearing opportunities, which was when I was lucky to be approached for a full-time position on farm.”

Two years on, Tyla is working as a herd manager on a 490-cow dairy farm in Otorohonga, while also studying at Primary ITO to upskill and gain more knowledge in dairy farming. Having been brought up on a dairy farm Tyla knew what it meant to work on farm, but she never realised that it would be her career calling too.

“Working on farm is such a great lifestyle. I never get tired of driving through the paddocks and seeing the cows and nature, especially in springtime with new calves running around,” said Tyla.

Tyla also won DairyNZ’s Good Boss competition late last year, which called for farmers to tell us what a good boss means to them. From this, Tyla has some perspectives and opinions on what having a good boss means to her.

“I think the key trait that makes a good boss is communication. Employees go to work to make a difference, so having a clear vision of what is expected can make a happier workplace,” said Tyla.

“Providing mentorship has also been really important for me. My managers have provided the appropriate resources to further my skills, which really helped with my growth and progression on farm. This includes providing feedback on my work and how I could improve in different areas.

“Although, I believe that a true good boss is someone that has all of these key traits. They need to be trustworthy, have compassion and be honest. Giving feedback, rewards for good performance and making work fun are also important to me.”

Tyla also explains that having a good boss has made a big difference to her career change, helping her settle into the new job and lifestyle. 

“I have been lucky to have had great experiences since starting in the sector. My bosses have all supported my learning and progress, and encouraged me to take on more responsibility,” said Tyla.

“Getting up early every morning isn’t always easy, but when you are in a great work environment you don’t even consider snoozing that 4.30am alarm, you are just excited to go and work with your team.”

DairyNZ has more information about starting a career in dairy at, or you can find information about being a good boss at

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Ali Tocker

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