An Auckland couple has made the unusual move of giving away a rare $12,000 green diamond to show their support for dairy farmers.
The diamond is now being used as the prize in a promotion organised by DairyNZ, the industry group representing New Zealand dairy farmers.
Jewellers Mark and Pamela Beckett said they wanted to show their support for dairy farmers and their appreciation for the work they do every day of the year, and in all weather.
"Our lives over the past 40-plus years have revolved around precious gems and we believe Kiwi dairy farmers are gems too," said Mark Beckett.
"We reckon this rare green diamond is the perfect way to celebrate our dairy farmers who are committed to caring for our land and environment, and, we believe, just like diamonds, that they are here forever."
DairyNZ's general manager of farm performance Vanessa Winning said she was touched by the Becketts' appreciation for dairy farmers.
"This is such a thoughtful gift - a true surprise and delight for farmers.
"While we receive praise and recognition for the work our farmers and their teams are doing on-farm and in their surrounding communities, this is the first time anyone has expressed their admiration and thanks in this way," said Winning.
The Becketts both hail from dairy farming families.
Mark Beckett was raised on a dairy farm in Matamata in the dairy heartland of the Waikato, while as a child Pamela often visited her grandparents' dairy farm - land that is now part of Auckland Airport.
"Even back then, our farming families had a long-term view of environmental stewardship - everything my father did on the farm was to care for the land and his animals," said Mark Beckett.
"We see some dairy farmers getting bad press for allegedly stuffing up the streams and their cows get the blame for global warming. We saw the opportunity to give away this appropriately green coloured diamond to thank the good farmers for their hard work, both as stewards of the land and also in bringing us milk.
"It feels like the natural thing for us to do."
Anyone can nominate a dairy farmer they feel is worthy of receiving the diamond until March 10.
The winner will be announced between March 16 and 18.