Te Akau Winning Team Member Announced

Date: 29 Sep 2020

Te Akau Winning Team Member Announced

Team Member of the Month draw winner Enzo De Leoni, daughter Jade and his partner Emma have this week flown to Queenstown on holiday - the overall annual prize drawn from our Team Member of the Month winners!

Initiated last year by Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM and Karyn-Fenton Ellis MNZM, the monthly winners received a cash prize and the overall winner a trip to the Gold Coast, but Covid-19 saw an amended destination. Rather than QUEENSland, it is QUEENStown! The naming of each winner was eagerly awaited and gratefully received, with a couple of team members mentioning it was the first award they had ever won.

The Equine Manager at Te Akau Stud, Enzo grew up in Uruguay, South America and came to New Zealand when he was 22. Although his parents were doctors (father a heart surgeon and his mother an anaesthetist) and his brother and sister pursued careers in the medical field, Enzo lived with relatives in a big rodeo family - generations deep.

He attended a farming high school and gained a bachelor degree in farming, before attaining a farm management degree at university. He started rodeo when he was 16, became Uruguay Bareback Champion at 19 and rode professionally until he was 22. It was a sabbatical that brought him to New Zealand, and following time spent breaking in polo horses, he turned to thoroughbreds and never looked back.

“At Te Akau Stud, I manage a
small team of great people and we take care of the horses,” Di Leoni said. “I
do a fair amount of breaking in and all the handling of the young horses that
are born at the farm.

“My favourite thing is educating young horses and I also enjoy the breeding and feeding and taking care of horses that require recuperation from injury or illness.


“I landed the managing role
because of over 20 years of horse experience and I'm really happy that David
and Karyn saw the potential in me. They have given me a new family and home.
I'm very happy here and forever indebted and grateful to them. There has been a
lot of trust and I really appreciate it.

“David is amazing to work for.
It's a paradise here. If you do what I do, it doesn't get any better. I have
worked with horses all over the world; been in Europe, South America, and I've
never seen a farm like this. The horses get to be horses and it's just horse

Di Leoni has just completed a
lengthy breaking-in season and was quick to acknowledge his team.

“I've always found Te Akau Stud a
really nice place to work, great people around and nothing is possible without
the great team I have working with me.

“Most of the horses are now
getting ready for their spring campaigns and Jamie (Richards) likes to keep
them warm through winter, so we only have a handful of spellers here. We have
finished the breakers and now handling some of the weanlings.

“It was a long season finishing
up the breakers this year. We had a few nice horses that came in late for some
new clients that want their horses trained by Jamie. We usually finish our run
mid-July, but had half a dozen come in 1 July so it took the season a little
bit longer. It seems everyone wants their horse trained at Te Akau. 

“To be honest, when I did get the Team Member of the Month I didn't want to take it because what I do is only possible because of the team I have behind me. But, David twisted my arm and we ended up going forward with it. If it wasn't for the people I work with, as well as David and Karyn, I wouldn't be able to do many of the things we do around here.

“I was very happy to win the draw and I don't win things very often. It's very, very nice and everyone is really thankful of the initiative that David and Karyn started last year. I feel very lucky for myself and Emma that we get to travel away. Due to the situation at the moment we can't leave the country, but now in Queenstown.

“David offered to include my little daughter Jade and she's never been to the South Island. So, she's really excited about it and with the snow, is having a blast. She spends a lot of time here and absolutely adores Karyn and David. She always loves playing with the dogs. It's very generous of them to include her as well.”



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