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Hyundai Country Calendar


Episode 6: Top Dog

Top Dog - Anna Holland with two of her working dogs, pic by Don Paulin

April 16 at 7pm on TV ONE:

Top Dog

Anna Holland decided at a young age that she wanted to work on the land - but she had to overcome plenty of obstacles to achieve her goal.

Anna grew up in suburban Auckland but spending school holidays on an uncle's farm convinced her to follow a career in farming. 

She struck problems as soon as she left school and started working as a land girl - no one would give her a permanent job that matched her experience. 

Anna's first employer told her she would be down the road as soon as he could find a boy to replace her.  But he changed his mind after seeing what Anna could do. She ended up staying on the farm for two years - and when she left her boss told her she was the best helper he'd ever employed.

Anna found she had a natural ability for training working dogs and developed her own unique and gentle techniques. She had some success at dog trials but found that being a young, single and attractive female got in the way - male dog trialists were worried they would be accused of chatting her up if they stopped to talk for too long.

Anna stuck with farming, despite the knockbacks, but when she still hadn't secured a farm manager's job after 10 years, she decided to move on.

She tried a range of jobs in town including selling real estate, working for local government and starting a female equivalent of "Hire a Hubby", but never lost her love of dogs and dog training.

Meeting her partner, Gordon McNeill, was the trigger to return to rural life. Anna and Gordon live on a hill country farm near Taihape and work together as a team. Anna has time to train working dogs, run sessions for dog handlers, and write a regular column about dog training.

For Anna, it's the perfect life - she's got the partner she wants, she's back living on the land and she's following her passion. 

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Country Calendar credits - 2011 episode 6, 'Top Dog'

Barrington West

Field sound
Don Paulin

Offline editor
Brent Whitwell

Online editor
Alex Wright

Sound mixer
Ian Leslie

Vivienne Jeffs

Network executive
Jude Callen

Consultant producer
Frank Torley

Associate producer
Dan Henry

Production manager
Robyn Best

Frank Torley

Julian O'Brien