Though city born and bred, David’s passion was always to be a farmer. Armed with a B.Agr.Sc from Lincoln, he started farming at West Melton in 1972. David established New Zealand’s first commercial embryo transplant company to help introduce the new “exotic” cattle breeds to Australia and New Zealand. But politics was his other passion. David was elected to Parliament in 1994, and on the pathway to achieve his ambition—Minister of Agriculture. This was finally interrupted when Parliament elected him to be Speaker, a privileged position that he held for five years. On 31 December 2020, David was awarded a knighthood for his services in Parliament.
As a sole trading farming enterprise, he has purchased, developed, farmed and sold a number of farm properties over a 48-year farming career. David currently farms a 10,000 stock unit sheep and beef breeding and fattening operation, spread over 3 properties on Banks Peninsula and North Canterbury.