Starting out as a rousie working in the shearing shed, Mavis Mullins has built a fulfilling career in the agri-sector. With her first love being the wool industry, Mavis’s passion for the primary industries has centred on her advocacy and commitment to Maori and Maori businesses, rural women and a strong sense of whanau with a common sense approach.

Growing up on the family farm just out of Dannevirke, Mavis never wanted to be a farmer. At a young age she started working as a rousie in the family shearing business, before quickly progressing to become a register wool classer. Winning Golden Shears wool handling championships in 1987 and 1992 was only the beginning of Mavis’s impact on the sector. During this time she and husband Koro set up their shearing business, Paewai Mullins Shearing, which has grown into a highly successful primary sector service company.

Always one for making the most of opportunities, Mavis completed an MBA in the in early 1990’s, and worked within the business to implement and become ISO 9002 accredited. A world first for this sector. The recognition of shearing and wool handling as an official sport, brought about further opportunities and recognitions . She became the first women to manage a NZ shearing and wool handling team to the world championships in Australia in 2005 where she successfully brought home two titles. She then made history again when she was appointed as the first woman President of the iconic Golden Shears Society.

While their daughter Aria, now owns and run the shearing business, Mavis and Koro remain directors. This allows Mavis to pursue other community and business interests. Having honed her business skills over the last 30 years, Mavis sits on a range of private and public sector boards with collective assets in the billions of dollars. Her experience covers a wide range of sectors from health, environment, agriculture, education, telecommunications and sport. Her influence and passion for the agri-sector is highlighted by her involvement in the success of $42 billion in Maori Agribusiness assets that rely on collectivism, partnerships and collaboration.

Widely respected as a business and thought leader with an innate ability to understand the opportunities and challenges of the future, one of her aspirations is to advocate for diversity on boards. “It is really important to bring fresh and innovative approaches to strategic thinking. For me, this is definitely a hallmark for successful business.” She sees huge potential in the early adoption of technology playing an important part in unlocking primary sector potential.

She has been recognised as 2015 Auckland University Maori Business Woman Leader, 2016 Westpac Rural Woman of Influence and recipient of the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award. Mavis continues to provide inspirational leadership with her contribution further recognised this year when she was inducted into NZ Business Hall of Fame and named Auckland University Outstanding Maori Business Leader.

Mavis, you have a truly inspirational story. A wonderful leader and innovator in the primary industries and role model for all AgWomen.