Backbench National MP Barbara Kuriger milks cow, drinks milk

Think shearing a sheep is the ultimate display of being in touch with rural New Zealand?

Think again.

Try milking a cow and drinking the fruits of your labour.

That's what National MP Barbara Kuriger did over the weekend at the Taranaki Vintage Machinery Club Vintage Hay Days.

"The cow obviously attracted my attention as a dairy farmer. She was a very quiet cow, her name was Baby, and they were actually giving people the opportunity to milk her so I couldn't resist," she said.

"I grew up on a dairy farm so that's pretty much what I did for 20 years of my life."

The MP for Taranaki-King Country is well known in the region for her dairying achievements - she was named NZ Dairywoman of the year in 2012.

"There's just an expectation that you don't forget how to do these things," she says.

Ms Kuriger even took it a step further on the weekend, drinking the milk straight from its source.

"It's not as scary to me as it is for some people, and yeah I'm fine. It's Tuesday and I'm still very healthy, I went off to my niece's wedding straight afterward and I haven't suffered any ill effects."

Ms Kuriger's got a challenge for her parliamentary colleagues.

"Look anyone else that wants to try milking a cow I'll very happily issue the challenge. I'd invite them into Taranaki so they can go and find a cow to do it if they couldn't find one on their own."

But Ms Kuriger's quite modest about the whole saga and says she wasn't intentionally trying to one-up her boss, Prime Minister Bill English, who recently tried his hand at sheep shearing.

"I'm a dairy farmer so people are always giving me the opportunity to milk a cow, so there was no intention of that at all," she said.

"I think Bill shearing the sheep was a fantastic opportunity, it was a 32-country showcase that went around the world. Mine was a wee local event."