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INSIDE June ‘13


9 26-27 29-34 40-53 60-61 62-65 67 68-69

Issue No. 154 Bay of Plenty & Waikato Farm, Orchard & Rural Lifestyle news

Ph 07 578 0030

Fruitful harvest aids Eua Island INSIDE THIS MONTH’S ISSUE ‘Call of the

Welcome to

Rural Driver


Kokako’ 65

District 10-25

Page 35-39


Sione Vaka of the Tongan island of Eua saves virtually all he earns during the New Zealand kiwifruit harvest to improve the lives of his family back home.


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Read his story on pages 4-5.


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Nomadic life heart of industry success Gypsy Day may sound romantic but there’s nothing carefree or casual about moving family, pets, farm machinery, equipment and cows in a tight 24 hours from one farm to another as many dairy farmers well know. Gypsy Day is the term coined decades ago for June 1, the traditional day farms change hands or farm worker or sharemilkers move on. Dairying in New Zealand is fairly unique in the career path it offers and climbing the sharemilking ladder has led many to eventual farm ownership. To get there they have to be willing to lead something of a nomadic life, spending a year or two on one farm before moving to another, sometimes just down the road, or maybe a whole island away. It’s an exercise in logistics; planning the transport of the dairy herd, farm equipment and machinery, the household items and if there are children, enrolling them in new schools. In this month’s annual “Welcome to the District” feature Coast & Country has stories about people and places in districts farmers will be moving to. There’s also some good advice about surviving Gypsy Days from two experienced share milking couples Jeff and Ryn Going (see page 15) and Daryl and

Christine Breen (page 20). This season will be Jeff ’s fourth move in as many years. He’s relocating from Te Puke to Paengaroa, not quite such a big upheaval as from Canterbury to Te Puke the year before. Daryl and Christine are moving not only their children, pets and farm machinery but grandma too, from Raglan to Te Kauwhata. Christine’s mum Maria Payne helps look after the children while their parents run the farm and she has her own household to pack up. It’s not only committing to move house and job. Sharemilkers also make a significant financial commitment to increase their herd size, or share with each new farm, servicing a mortgage which often far exceeds that needed to buy an urban home. They back themselves, their new farm owner and their industry to service the loan and earn a living and that’s a leap of faith many in paid employment wouldn’t be willing to make. While much is under their control, the weather and the milk price aren’t. Many will have been hard hit by this summer’s drought and feed for the winter is still tight. Milk prices are good and Fonterra made an advance to its suppliers but some had already spent that money on supplementary feed. Dairying is not for the faint hearted but it’s the resilience, talent and optimism of those who make it their career which are at the heart of its success. By Elaine Fisher

The winner of the May Coast & Country book prize, “The Alpine Chamois” by Bruce Banwell and published by Halcyon Press is Reg Proffit of Gisborne.







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tradetested T R A D E P R I C E S D E L I V E R E D NAT I O N W I D E


Humans not tested for DCD effects Nitrogen inhibiting fertilisers, known as DCD, are unlikely to be used this spring following the discovery of traces of it in export milk products. Earlier this year, both Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients withdrew Dicyandiamide-based nitrification inhibitors from the market. “DCDs are considered safe and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, however, there is no internationally-agreed acceptable level and so the default is the level of detection,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers spokesperson on food safety. However, humans have not been tested for effects of DCD – other than studies of external exposure of workers applying the product, a spokesperson for the Ministry for Primary Industries has told Coast & Country. The toxicity studies on DCD are mainly animal studies. “Human exposure could only be to transient and very small levels of DCD – which makes it extremely unlikely for concentrations reaching the human gut bacteria to be enough to have any effect at all. DCD is also unlikely to affect any human bacteria because of its selective reaction on only one enzyme system in soil bacteria.” The spokesperson says domestic maximum residue limits could be set in New Zealand within a few months. “International limits take much longer because they have to be agreed at meetings that take place only once per year. It is our guess that the international process could take up to four to five years to complete.” Risk assessments are undertaken to determine both safe levels of application of the product to pasture, and maximum residue levels that will be allowed in foods.

Safety margin

These assessments take into account the findings from animal studies, designed to establish the highest amount or dose of the chemical that does not cause any toxic effects. The spokesperson says this determines the No Observed Adverse Effect Level for the chemical. A safety margin is then applied to the NOAEL to establish a tolerable daily intake (TDI) in humans – this is at least 100 times lower than the NOAEL.

Then, analysis occurs to work out what application rates to pasture would be required to achieve the desired effect, what residues in different foods would be expected from this use, and whether a withholding period would be effective in limiting human exposure to chemical residues. Finally, a dietary intake exposure assessment checks that, at the levels used legitimately, the overall human dietary intake will be below the tolerable daily intake (TDI), and thus pose no health risk.


DCD is described by Warwick Cato of Ballance Agri-Nutrients as a synthetic chemical, not a biocide that does not inhibit bacteria. “It works to slow down bacteria in the soil, not kill them. Its specificity is to pause the nitrification process for a period of time allowing plants to take up ammonia and nitrate. DCD does not have longevity. It is 67 per cent nitrogen and 46 per cent urea and can be used as a nitrogen fertiliser,” says Warwick. DCD breaks down to carbon dioxide, water and ammonia, and lasts in the order of 10 days, depending on rainfall and temperature.


MPI carried out a risk assessment on the likelihood of residues in meat and concluded that there was no scientific value in carrying out tests. “This is because the exposed animals (those that were grazing on particular dairy farms during the short window of application) were highly unlikely to be culled immediately after grazing. DCD breaks down very quickly in live animals – likely to be less than two days. Dairy cows are not typically culled in spring, but months later after having been dried off. “Similarly, if any bobby calves had been exposed through drinking milk containing traces of DCD, any residues would have depleted to extremely low levels by the time they were culled because there is a withholding period of four days. Finally, meat is generally not held for long periods at either processors or retailers, further reducing any value of testing.” MPI has confirmed that DCD has not been used on dairy goat farms in New Zealand. The spokesperson says a working group has been set up to look at future use of DCD and will continue to investigate this issue.

The Ministry says no other products achieve the three DCD benefits of slightly increased pasture growth (3-5 per cent), reduced nitrate leaching (up to 20-30 per cent) and reduced nitrous oxide (GHG) emissions (up to 50 per cent) particularly for nitrogen deposited through animal urine under grazing situations. This is the main source of nitrogen cycling in grazed pasture systems.

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Summers on Eua and winters in Katikati RSE workers from Tonga harvesting the last crop of Hort16A gold fruit from a Katikati orchard. From front cover

When Sione Vaka boards the flight home to Eua Island in September it will be money, not a chainsaw or electronic goods, he’ll be taking with him. “I came here to earn money to help my family back home,” says Sione – who for the past five years has been among the Tongan RSE seasonal kiwifruit workers employed by Hume Pack-N-Cool of Katikati. Other workers from the Pacific Islands often return home with lots of purchases made during their five months in New Zealand, but for Sione saving money for his family is more important. Working in New Zealand has ena-

bled him to support his mother and younger sister and improve the home they live in. This winter’s kiwifruit work will provide funds to extend their house.

experience as a picker and pruner, Sione is considered by fellow Tongan employees as something of a leader. They look to him for guidance and he helps keep the picking and pruning gangs on task in the orchards.


Sione’s half-brother Simione Vakasiuola has worked for Hume since he was at school and is today the company’s orchard sprayer and RSE supervisor. He has clearly seen the difference the Registered Seasonal Employer scheme has made to Tongan workers and the country as a whole. “On Eua people can grow enough food for everyday living and sell some of their vegetables, but there is no money for extras. When they come to New Zealand to work they are able to do more for their families, such as pay for education, improve their houses, maybe buy a car and set some money aside for savings,” says Simione. “Some people are able to save enough to start their own business like one lady who now has a service station in Tonga.” Simione says benefits are more than financial. “People from different parts of Tonga form friendships while they are working in New Zealand, so it is good for the wider community. Some people even fall in love and marry.”

Sione says there is little employment opportunity on Eua, which has an area of 86.7square kilometres and a population of about 6000 people. The island is very fertile and it is easy to grow crops to feed the family, supplemented by fish from the sea. It’s a life in sharp contrast to New Zealand, but Sione has settled into the pattern of spending half his year in what most people would consider a tropical paradise, and the other half in New Zealand during winter. Because of the time he has spent working for Hume and his ability and




Sione stays with Simione and his wife Salome and family when he is in New Zealand so his arrival each April is something of a family reunion. During his seven months here, he and other Tongan and overseas workers at Hume have the opportunity to explore the country, including a trip to the snow at Mount Ruapehu and to a Rugby World Cup Match in 2011. It was Sione and Simione’s father Fillipe who began the Hume connection with Tonga. In 1987 there was a fire in the packhouse and in an effort to find enough staff to re-pack undamaged fruit, Mark Hume contracted a gang of Tongan workers from Auckland, which included Fillipe. “When the job was finished Fillipe said he enjoyed

want to take the

Katikati so much he didn’t want to go back to Auckland so his wife and children joined him,” says Jim Hume, Hume Pack-N-Cool accounts manager. Through Fillipe’s contacts, each season Hume employed more Tongans who were residents in New Zealand to help with the harvest.


Tragically in 1997, both Fillipe and his wife died within months of each other, leaving a large family including an 18 month old daughter without parents. Simione and his fiancee Salome, then in their teens, married to look after the five younger siblings. Hume played a major role in the young family’s life, offering employment, moral and practical support. The Katikati community rallied to their aid too, and local accountancy firm Young Oswald and Associates helped Simione and Salome buy a home. The couple went on to have their own children and the family is now firmly part of the wider community, involved in sports, service organisations and the schools. When the RSE scheme opened the opportunity to employ seasonal workers from the Pacific and with its existing strong links with the Tongan community in New Zealand, Humes decided to focus on Tonga as a source of additional labour. This season, 70 RSE workers from Tonga are part of the 350-strong Hume staff.


Kate Krom, Hume human resources manager, says today the postharvest company is one of the largest employers of people from Tonga. “It is quite humbling to go to Tonga and learn how important the kiwifruit work is to the people there. One of our staff is the only member of a very large family who has a regular income and he uses what he earns to help his family. “Because we have only one packhouse facility we operate round the clock at the height of the season. The RSE workers are a welcome addition to our valued local workforce and provide consistent numbers for our dedicated night shift.”

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Kiwifruit industry and islands benefit from RSE scheme Jim says life in Tonga is very different from New Zealand and he is impressed at how the Hume workers cope with the change in culture and climate. “They work very hard while they are here and those who have been here a few times are used to the contrast, but the first time they come it must be a shock to step off the plane in Auckland and drive two hours through traffic to Katikati. “RSE work is very important to the island because there is little employment and no social welfare.” Kate is always impressed at the number of New Zealand resident relations who greet the workers at the airport when they arrive. “They come armed with warm clothing because they know their relations from the islands won’t have what they need to keep warm here.” The Recognised Seasonal Employer Work scheme is a government policy allowing the temporary entry of additional workers from overseas to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops in the

Sione Vaka and his brother Simione Vakasiuola find wet weather work repairing kiwifruit bins at Hume Pack-N-Cool in Katikati. horticulture and viticulture industries to meet labour shortages in those areas. Every year employers must re-apply for the right to bring in workers from the Pacific, and the numbers allowed are dictated by New Zealand’s unemployment figures. Jim says the entire industry has benefited from the scheme which at the same time has become an important part of the economy for many Pacific nations, including Tonga. By Elaine Fisher

Eua – tiny tropical island Eua, a smaller but still major island in the kingdom of Tonga, is 11 kilometres off the south coast of Tongatapu, and unlike many other Pacific islands, is not volcanic. The movement of the Tonga plate against the Pacific plate pushed up the island, which is hilly, covered in rainforest and includes the largest area of virgin forest in Tonga, the Eua National Park. This 450 hectare of pristine tropical rainforest park has become a major tourist attraction for the island and is home to exotic birds including the musk parrots, lorikeets, pacific pigeons, kingfishers and tropic sea birds. The island’s east coast, with its 120 metre cliffs, is virtually inaccessible but on the west coast there are beaches and a few small villages and family plantations. From June and November, humpback whales pass close by the island on their migration and the east coast cliffs are a popular place to watch them cruise by. Eua is a two-hour ferry ride from Tongatapu, or a seven minute flight, believed to be the world’s shortest commercial airline flight.




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Safety policies aren’t working Orchard tractOrs

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One person dies on a New Zealand farm every 18 days. Each day, 42 go onto Accident Compensation, and annually 25 farmers commit suicide – all of which illustrates most of this country’s health and safety in employment policies aren’t working, says D’Arcy Palmer, director of Farmers for Farm Safety Ltd, an independent on-farm advisory health and safety service company.

“The Health and Safety in Employment ACC says unless safety on farms improves up to 20 agricultural workers a year will lose Act came into force in 1992 but in the 21 their lives in the workplace. That’s one death every 18 days. years since, there has been little improvement in fatality and serious harm incidents I visit each farm personally to prepare a “Within two months I was hit from on farms. Too many people are still dying behind, while stationary behind cows on a or suffering serious harm, all avoidable, and policy, talk to owners, employers and farm staff ensuring all contribute to the farms farm track, by a young worker on an ATV the approach has to change,” says D’Arcy documented resource. quad bike doing approximately 60 km/hr. I who is a farmer without a farm, because of That service costs about the price of two ended up in intensive care and at first wasn’t a farm accident. truckloads of top soil. Not much really is expected to live.” “I was in a hurry to get to a rugby coachit?” The farm employed a large staff and in ing school for the New Zealand Rugby Keeping his services affordable (his 12 months there were five serious harm Union and rolled my vehicle. It took me accountant says in fact too cheap) is incidents: D’Arcy’s injury, a PTO shaft seven years to learn to walk properly again. D’Arcy’s way of making incident, a female milker I don’t want to see that happen to anyone who lost a finger in the else which is why I began this business, pro- sure all farmers can have in place a practical, efficient dairy, another worker moting the first priority in farming which policy everyone understands who fractured his arm is to take all practicable steps to prevent which meet the requirepregnancy-testing a cow farmers and farm employees from losing which collapsed, and a their career, lifestyle, family member, friend ments of the HSE Act 1992 and exceeds ACC young worker who sufor financial security.” audit standards. “Lack of fered severe head injuries D’Arcy spent two years gaining qualificaemployer understanding from an ATV incident. tions in Health and Safety and a further and worker limitations do It was an experience 12 months of his recovery researching and which served to intensify documenting everything he knew about on- kill,” he says. D’Arcy’s determination farm hazards including man management Under cover to do something positive and staff interaction. To further his understandto improve farm safety Farm policy ing of exactly what happens and stop the carnage. He wrote a farm policy, which now forms on a dairy farm, D’Arcy Human cost the basis of a client commitment, and a went “under cover” as an “I regard what I do now comprehensive hazard register for all farm employee and found out, D’Arcy Palmer, director of as a service which helps types, which also encompasses training. far too personally, how danFarmers for Farm Safety Ltd. farmers implement poli“Every farm is different which is why gerous that role can be. cies to prevent injury and death on farm. “Too often I see the impact of a farmer failing to take safety seriously, [written] on the faces of wives whose husbands are confined to wheelchairs, or the father who has accidently run over his child or the family of a young man who has taken his own life.” All farm deaths and injuries are preventable, says D’Arcy, who believes suicides are a major but rarelydiscussed statistic which warrants more publicity and advice on suicide awareness. “If safety procedures around fire arms [that they should be kept in locked cabinets], were adhered to, fewer men would take their own life. When things get too much and a fire arm is handy in the ute, it’s too easy to ‘act on impulse’.” In D’Arcy’s 38 years of farm ownership, nine farm owners and three young people died in his district, two from suicide and the others from a varied mix of machinery accidents, but not one involving an ATV. The farm environment is a dangerous place with a whole host of hazards waiting to injure or kill the unwary – and no amount of ACC pamphlets or safety manuals will make a difference unless everyone who lives and works on the farm understands task safe operating procedures and buys into safety implementation, says Darcy. “A large percentage of farm workers, owners and managers are dyslexic – 20 per cent of my clients or clients’ staff either cannot read written instructions or find them difficult to read. “They are kinaesthetic or tactile learners who learn by doing, not reading.” That’s why D’Arcy spends time with staff to ensure they do understand what is required of them. A nod is not confirmation they understand.


He encourages the attitude of working as a team where everyone recognises and understands their legal responsibility not only for their own safety


Short cuts increase risks unaware of the towing capacities of their machinery and a good example is towing calf milk tanks/feeders, PK trailers or portable sheep yards which are far heavier than is recommended for these machines. More than 80 per cent of farm staff ride on a public road unlicensed which raises other issues.”


Since 1992, it has been a legal requirement to wear a helmet when operating a quad bike or motor bike on farm.

D’Arcy believes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (formerly the Department of Labour) is under-resourced when it comes to industry-trained inspectors assisting farmers. “The ACC reliance on farmers self-assessing their work place safety [audit] to qualify for a 10 per cent reduction in their workplace levies with no follow up, gives a false sense of security that they are ‘up to speed’. Farmers would be well-advised that they more than likely do not meet standards required.” While the act is clear on what employer obligations are – how those obligations for safety are met on each individual farm is up to the owner/ employer to work out.

but for that of others. “They also need to realise, should they be injured or killed through their own negligence or attitude, that those actions put a fellow worker or employer in the likely position of prosecution.” Long hours, under-staffing and short cuts increase the risk of farmers being injured but so can a sense of social isolation. It is important workers and owners have interests, including sports, outside of work to achieve balance in their lives. Farm owners/employers need to know about health issues of their staff such as epilepsy, colour blindness, diabetes and allergies. Fellow staff need to know what is required, in terms of aid, if a fellow worker becomes unwell on the job.


“Too few farm workers know enough about emergency readiness [for example], how to perform CPR should a work mate collapse or be electrocuted, or know to ensure the safety of themselves first.” D’Arcy believes undue attention has been focused on incidents involving quad bikes. “They are not dangerous machines, how they are often operated is. They are an easy target for authorities to comment on. Every commentator appears to be an expert. “Most farmers and others aren’t aware, that since 1992, it has been a legal requirement under the H&SE Act to wear a helmet when operating a quad bike or motor bike on farm (Sections 10 and 19). “Many farmers are also

Safety considerations are even more important when working around animals. “Few have the time or knowledge to achieve this without qualified and farm experienced assistance.” D’Arcy says the dynamics of farming have changed in recent years with 80 per cent of his clients’ staff not coming from a farming background. D’Arcy’s aim is to partner with a large national company to standardise safety policies and procedures of implementation, which will assist many farmers of all categories throughout the country. That approach will be effective in reducing New Zealand’s shocking farm fatality and serious harm record. By Elaine Fisher

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Hunt on for the big four

Proud to support big contest For the third year in a row, Tauranga’s award-winning Toyota dealership, Pacific Toyota is ‘getting in behind’ the Polaris Big Four Hunting and Fishing Competition as a major sponsor. This year, teams which come from throughout New Zealand to the Bay to compete in this awesome competition will have the chance to win the use of a brand new Hilux SR4 for a year. “Last year’s winners were an all-girls team,” says Pacific Toyota sales manager Chris Churchward. “It will be interesting to see how the boys react this year to turn that result around. “We’re very proud to be associated with this competition and with the fantastic team of organisers, who work like trojans to make this event such a huge success. With Hunting Aotearoa also playing a key role this year, our local region should get some great exposure via national television coverage,” adds Chris. Since the middle of last year, Pacific Toyota has maintained a connection with the ‘outdoorsmen’ in the local market by giving away a Stoney Creek Apparel Package, valued at $700, to buyers of their uniquely branded Hilux SR4. The SR4 is a standard turbo diesel hilux double cab manual ute that has been dressed up with a set

of custom 17inch alloy wheels and special decals to offer local owners a ute with a bit of flair. Buyers are also able to further accessorise their new SR4 ute with a tuff deck, towbar, sports bar, tonneau cover, bull bars or hard lid – all at special discounted prices to go with the current nationwide Fieldays Deals on offer. “We’ve experienced huge demand since we started to put the SR4 package together last year,” says Chris, “so much so, that this great looking ute is actually out-selling the standard Hilux SR5 in our area”. “Of course, the fantastic price of the SR4 may have something to do with that. We sell it at $39,990 plus GST and on road costs, and with the Stoney Creek gear thrown into the package, it makes for an awesome deal.” The team at Pacific Toyota would like to wish all the competing teams the best of luck and look forward to seeing everyone at the prize giving.

The aim for each four-person team is Hunters and fishers are honing bag a stag, boar, trout and pheastheir skills and seeking out the to ant, with team prizes based on average best spots to find their prey – weights, and individual prizes for the heaviest animals and fish and the best to be in with a chance to win trout, best antlers a share of $80,000 worth of and tusks, and prizes in the Polaris Big best pheasant. The Four hunting and fishing All Black Richard annual competition, run by the event is Loe will MC the Quarry Community growing prize giving at in popuSports Club this month. larity, and the Top Shot Pub “Entries are coming in and this year people need to hurry up if at Te Puna. Australian they don’t want to miss out, as only the first 100 teams to register will be accepted,” says one of the event organisers Ken Griffin. “It’s a great event for people of all ages, and a number of teams include children who can fish for a trout.” The contest runs from Tuesday, June 25 to Saturday, June 29. Once people have registered and attended the briefing, they can go hunting and fishing where ever they chose, so long as they are back by weigh-in time.

teams are also expected to take part. The Discovery Channel will be filming competitors, and former All Black Richard Loe will MC the prize giving at the Top Shot Pub at Te Puna. The $80,000 worth of prizes include a Polaris Ranger 500, a free 12 month lease of a new Toyota Hilux, and a 2001 4X4 Mazda Bounty donated by Pacific Toyota as a spot prize for all entrants present at the weigh-in. The weigh-in is popular, with spectators numbering 800 to 1000 people, including competitors, expected to watch the prize giving.


$80,000 IN N PRIZ ZES!


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Traditional and modern technologies in kiwi encounter High on an ancient pa site, overlooked by a carving of his ancestor Toikairakau, William Stewart blows a carved Pukaea (wooden trumpet) in welcome. There’s a flax kete on his back but in his pocket is a sophisticated infra-red night vision monocular and close by are the antenna and receiver of a tracking device.

Traditional and modern technologies are essential to the experience William and the team from NATIVconnectionz offer those taking part in the night-time Po Kiwi encounter in the Kohi Point Reserve above Whakatane. It’s just one of four unique and personal Maori experiences William, his cousins Britain Williams, Mita Manuel and their extended families offer visitors to the district.

Kiwi capital

A Pukaea carved to represent a tuna (eel) is blown by William Stewart of NATIVconnectionz to welcome tourists.

“Whakatane claims to be the Kiwi Capital of the World because we have a population of kiwi living right on the town’s doorstep, but few visitors get to see them so we thought we should do something about that,” says William, who moved to Whakatane from Auckland in 2010 with his family after completing a Bachelors of Management Studies degree at Waikato University and having a successful career with Tourism New Zealand. “When our children were born my partner and I wanted to return to Whakatane to give them the kind of childhood I had enjoyed.” The idea of starting a boutique tourism venture grew and the Po Kiwi night time experience seemed an obvious opportunity. “As far as we know no other tour operator in New Zealand is using night vision equipment to see wild kiwi at night. We can’t guarantee we will have an encounter but we take people into the bush in an area where we know kiwi are living, using tracking equipment to find them, and night vision gear to see them.”


Even if no kiwi are seen or heard, the experience of being with a small group of people on the summit of Kāputerangi – the ancient strong hold of Toi – as dusk falls and being welcomed in Maori, and listening to legends of the land when entering the bush, weaves a kind of magic. The five minute walk leads to a small clearing where the legend of “how the kiwi lost its wings” is told, and people have the chance to familiarise themselves with the use of the night vision equipment. Meanwhile, guides use the tracking gear to locate one of several kiwi fitted with transmitters in the hope they may be near enough to see. “If we are lucky, we will get to see and hear a kiwi as we are at a spot which borders the territories of three kiwi breeding pairs.” Every effort is made to ensure the kiwi are not disturbed so those in the party are encouraged to stay still and quiet. After a warming cup of kawakawa tea,

the party returns to the car park for the drive to NATIVconnectionz headquarters and a hangi meal. A percentage of the price of each tour goes to the Whakatane Kiwi Project. “NATIVconnectionz can’t take any credit for the kiwi being here. All the hard work has been done by the trust and we have a good relationship with them as our aims are to protect the kiwi and their habitat while giving people the chance to see them in the wild.” In 1999, a few North Island brown kiwi were discovered in the reserve, southeast of Whakatane and south of Ohope. Miraculously, adult kiwi had survived without any predator control. The discovery initiated the Whakatane Kiwi Project, at that time a partnership between Environment Bay of Plenty (now Bay of Plenty Regional Council) and Department of Conservation, in conjunction with Te Runanga o Ngati Awa. Since then the Whakatane Kiwi Trust and the Whakatane District Council have also become partners in the project. Today about 150 kiwi are under the management of the kiwi trust, which is rearing chicks in captivity until they are big enough to survive in the wild. While many of the birds are living in reserves, some are also on private land.


The Po Kiwi experience is one of many offered by NATIVConnectioNZ and aimed at small groups of tourists, giving them an opportunity to spend time with local Maori enjoying what William describes as “authentic and personal Maori cultural experiences”. It took William a while to convince his whanau that the ideas he was suggesting for tourists would work. “They couldn’t understand why visitors would want to do the kind of things we take for granted, like a walk in the bush, a hangi meal or watching a local rugby match.” Because of what he learned working for Tourism New Zealand and from travelling overseas, William knew quintessential Maori experiences do have appeal. Eventually, he convinced the cousins and now NATIVconnectionz has put together a range of tour options which include playing golf at Ohope with Maori golfers and gathering pipi from the beach afterwards for a meal; watching a local rugby match, meeting teams, choosing the player of the day and witnessing the after-match speeches and haka; a guided tour of the Te Kōputu Gallery; an ancestral river walk; fishing at traditional “sweet spots” and learning how to cook hangi food and enjoy the feast afterwards. “Whakatane is a great place to live and bring up a family but employment opportunities are limited and we hope NATIVConnectioNZ will grow so we can employ more local people, and stop them heading off to Aussie for jobs,” says William. At the same time, the aim is to promote a pride in both ancient and modern Maori culture and share it with people from all round the world. To find out more visit By Elaine Fisher

A carving of Toikairakau stands on the summit of Kāputerangi, Whakatane.

WELCOME TO EASTERN BOP The Rangitaiki School’s Gold Medal Band caters for Year 4 to 11 students.

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Getting to know your new community Up and down the country, dairy farmers are settling into new homes, new jobs and new communities this month following the longstanding traditions of Gypsy Day on June 1.

Independent school growing to meet demand Exciting new developments are ahead for Rangitaiki Independent School which now enrols Year 11 student, says school director Gay West. One for the few private schools in the Bay of Plenty to provide all round education for Years 1 to 10, Rangitaiki has, after many parental and student requests, enrolled Year 11 students and will progressively extend to Year 12 in 2014, and Year 13 in 2015. “Rangitaiki Independent School is a unique dynamic, place of high quality learning. This is partly because of the spacious and peaceful classrooms and very small classes. At present, the largest class in the school is 16 students, and the learning environment for these students is three

times the size of that provided by state or integrated schools,” says Gay. “However, the true secret of the school’s success is the relationships between staff and students. As you walk through this unique school you will see that there is a disciplined and academic focus, but everyone is on first name terms. The students see their teachers as mentors and guides, not some distant person at the front of the room.” The Education Review Office recognised these attributes in the school’s last two reviews. “Small class sizes, and high-quality assessment and planning practices, enable teachers to personalise student learning to cater for their diverse needs and abilities. Classrooms are spacious and comfortable. Learning interactions are based on mutually

respectful relationships among teachers, students and families,” states an ERO review. At Rangitaiki Independent School, all Year 5 -13 students are able to learn a sophisticated musical instrument. Research proves that learning music stimulates cognitive abilities, and this greatly improves progress in all subjects, says Gay. The performance music programme takes place in school time, and the school provides the tuition as part of the school fees. ERO also praised this aspect of the school. “An emphasis on music and the arts, contributes to positive learning outcomes for students. The orchestra, jazz and rock bands, and music tuition are a feature of the school”. “The staff at Rangitaiki Independent School treat every parent as a customer – not just a consumer of education,” says Gay.

In the Welcome to the District Feature in this issue of Coast & Country, we ask couples with more than a little experience about what it’s like to move not just themselves and their families, but their farming equipment and cows too – see pages 18 and 20. We also feature lists of useful contacts for Federated Farmers, Young Farmers and councils in each of the regions – and stories about the districts and those who live there.


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Winter-long planting for catchment health Every second Saturday during May to October, a group of neighbours in a pocket of the Bay of Plenty come together to plant a healthy environment for the future of their stream and the wideranging Rangataua Harbour. The Waitao Kaiate Land Care Group, of about 12 die-hard resident volunteers complemented by locals who donate time infrequently, will plant more than 4000 native seedlings along Waitao Stream to help improve the water quality, and in turn, and reduce sediment to Rangataua Harbour near Welcome Bay. But this is not a winter-only project – volunteers work nearly year-round – locally sourcing and germinating seeds, raising seedlings in the group’s nursery, fencing land along the stream and planting during colder months. Recently, the group was recognised for their commitment – receiving a commendation in the Heritage and Environment Category of 2013’s Trustpower Western Bay of Plenty Community Awards.


President Dave Hooker says the group’s aim is to clean up the Waitao Stream and maintain the natural beauty of the Kaiate Falls, which will, in future, bring positive benefits to water quality of Rangataua Harbour. “The Waitao Stream is the main water source into the harbour and it has pressure from the Te Maunga Transfer Station, the marina and from the waste water treatment plant.” The group was born out of work by local hapu, with a marae at the bottom of the Waitao catchment. Assisted by NZ Landcare Trust and NIWA, local hapu had been working to enhance the lower reaches of the stream and share their knowledge through workshops. “They decided to get people up the river involved, and later on a small group agreed to become Waitao Kaiate Land Care Group in 2008 – it planned to fence and plant further up river which is a huge project,” says Dave. Dave says while local hapu have successfully planted and fenced along a stream bank on their property,

other Waitao Rd landowners are now working toward the same goal. “We fence river banks to keep stock out and reduce e-coli in the river. We put in native plantings to reduce sediment flow into river, which slows down water flow, so sediment is dropped on the land rather than being taken down to the harbour,” says Dave. “We have potting days in summer – this year we’re beginning our planting a bit later after waiting for the drought to subside.” Dave says farmers Bill Hayes and Kevin Jones have fenced off the stream on their properties to keep animals out. “These properties are large and had previously seen a lot of stock going into rivers – so their involvement is very important.”


The nursery is on bushman Russell Nelson’s property, and neighbour Rob McGowan, an expert on NZ native plants, helps collect and raise seedlings with the other three men. NIWA principal scientist Dr John Quinn is seeing improvements in the catchment’s water quality with NIWA monitoring it since 2003. It began by working with iwi from three local marae on a project called Te Awa O Waitao. John led a programme on aquatic rehabilitation and picked Waitao Stream as a case study. “We’ve been monitoring water clarity, stream temperature, pH and conductivity at monthly intervals in 12 sites around the catchment throughout this time,” says John.


John says improvement in water quality has been noted at some places while other locations haven’t seen change. Upper sites, near Kaiate Falls, where a retirement and planting of the stream occurred, have seen significant improvements in water clarity. “Another part of a stream had a change of land ownership and practice and we’ve seen improvements there as well.” Spot measurements have shown water temperatures have reduced. “We haven't had permanent temperature loggers, and it’s a little affected by climate, but there has been a trend of reduced temperatures at quite a few sites”. Riparian planting and developing shade, associated with water temperature, is important “because many stream insects and fish are quite sensitive to high water temperatures”. Measuring health of Rangataua Harbour itself is a varied and difficult task which NIWA is not focussing on –instead it concentrates on giving local communities simple tools to help improve and measure health of the catchment, says John.


“We have relatively simple ways of measuring insects, snails and crustaceans and using those as a sentinel of the Waitao Stream’s health shows there has been signs of improvements there too. “Up-stream, sites which previously had cattle in them and were badly impacted have seen improvement too – in ecological health and water clarity.” To undertake their work, Waitao Kaiate Land Care Group receives support from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and By Merle Foster the Land Care Trust.


My Name is Neil Woodward. I am a director of Z-Contracting- we are family run business, our team consists of three, being myself, my son and my brother. Our organisation has been established for over 18 years. I have been involved in applying crop protection programmes within the horticultal industry since 1966. We specialise within the kiwi fruit industry, We have the equipment to spray orchards with our two Atom sprayers and one recently purchased Tracatom Formula tractor which is also available for mulching and mowing.

Our Atoms are set up with radar speed sensors, this combined with fully automated sprayer controllers and three nozzle rings enhances application efficiency and accuracy. We also use a quad bike for strip weed spray applications. We hold all certificates needed to meet Globalgap compliance. We look at all challenges to help ensure we protect your crop with excellence.

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Page 13


Composting toilets growing in popularity Western Bay Contracts Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty Rick Powdrell 07 573 7481 07 573 7481 027 489 4075 E: Young Farmers Te Puke Nigel Gordon 027 355 1527 E: Waihi: Amber Rodger 027 812 9083 E: Western Bay of Plenty District Council Barkes Corner, Greerton, Tauranga 07 571 8008 Bay of Plenty Regional Council 5 Quay St, Whakatane 0800 884 880 Te Puke i-Site 130 Jellicoe St, Te Puke 07 573 9172 Waihi i-Site Seddon St, Waihi 07 863 6715 Katikati i-Site 36 Main Rd, Katikiati 07 549 1658

A stylish, modern toilet which uses little or no water, is odour-fee and good for the environment, is an option many homeowners are choosing over conventional systems. The Bioloo from Bio Systems are true composting toilets in that the composting is completed within the system and eventually produces a soil-like material called humus. Mike Bennekom of Bioloo Systems says while the company’s composting toilets are widely used by the Department of Conservation, in camping grounds and marae complexes and by city and regional councils, an increasing number of people are installing them in permanent or holiday homes. That’s because they appreciate the environmental advantages of the system and their modern design features. All Bio System’s Bioloos meet strict national and international building standards which mean they are fit for purpose and safe to use in domestic and public situations. The most popular model is the non-flush dry pedestal which requires no water or electricity, just an air vent and drain. Also available is the low-flush pedestal, which is widely used in the USA. It requires about half a litre of water per flush and is designed so that the composting process and the worms, which aid that to happen, function just as well with the addition of a small amount of water. Bioloos rely on worms and aerobic bacteria, so they don’t produce the sulphur-type smells associated with ‘long-drop’ type toilets. Bioloos may have a slight earthy-forest humus kind of smell, but it is far from unpleasant. Installing a Bioloo is relatively simple and even more so if provision for one or more of the toilets is made during the planning and design phase of a new home. The systems have a long life too. Internationally, there are many composting toilets which have been in use for more than 60 years. In New Zealand, Bioloos produced by Bio Systems when it first began 14 years ago are continuing to function well.

The low-flush pedestal is an increasingly popular environmentally-friendly toilet.




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Page 14

Gentle timewasters sparked small businesses Graeme and Kay O’Dea didn’t set out to be pioneers in sustainable energy and alpaca farming when they bought 12 ha of land near Katikati 14 years ago, but that’s what they became. “We wanted to farm an animal which was easy and pleasant to work with, more as a hobby than anything,” says Kay. Alpaca fitted that brief perfectly. Installing a solar system, to power the home they built in Hot Springs Rd, solved the issue of the high cost of bringing in reticulated electricity – and the couple became among the first in the district to do so. “We had to do a lot of research to find the systems we needed but prices have come back considerably and there’s a lot

more choice now,” says Graeme. The solar system provides electricity to run the lights and electrical appliances, while gas is used for cooking and water heating. The couple don’t have a landline, instead relying on cellphones. Their innovative approaches to both farming and energy provision meant others interested in alpaca and alternative forms of energy often called on them for advice, something they have been happy to share. Raising alpaca may have started as a hobby but it grew into quite a successful small business, thanks to the couple’s ability as breeders and animal handlers – and Kay’s talents for turning the fine alpaca fibre into garments. At one stage, Ridgedale Alpacas had a herd of 60 animals and were selling many off-spring to others keen to enter the industry. Graeme gained a reputation for his “after sales service”

Kay O’Dea has a talent for turning the fine alpaca fibre into garments. ensuring those who bought animals understood how to care for them correctly.


Not, says Graeme, that they need a lot of work. “We call them the gentle timewasters, because you can waste a lot of time out in the paddock with them.” Unlike many livestock, alpaca appear to enjoy human company and will happily “socialise” with almost anyone, especially if they have food to offer. Their quiet nature means they are easy to handle, even for procedures such as toe nail trimming. “Alpaca have soft padded feet with toenails which need regular trimming every two to three months. We put them in a pen and ask them to lift their foot, much as you would a horse,” says Graeme.


Shearing, however, is not quite so straightforward. The animals are strapped to a pivoting table so

they can be held safely on their side. Graeme used to shear his own animals around November each year but now Dave Morrision of Katikati does it for him. “We shear them before summer to keep them cool,” says Kay, who has found many innovative ways to use the fibre, from felting tissue-fine evening wraps to handknitting baby booties and bonnets. The herd at Ridgedale Alpacas has now reduced to around 20 as Graeme and Kay seek to slow down a little but they remain optimistic about the future of the industry, especially now younger people are farming the animals.


The future they believe lies largely in the high quality fleece. “It needs someone to develop it further as has happened with Merino wool,” says Kay.

Jamie Harrison (13) of Omokoroa with Aspen, her 14 month old macho (male) alpaca bred from animals bought from Ridgedale Alpacas.

JORDAAN    


Alpaca have the potential to be farmed for fleece and replacement stock, much as the sheep industry is today, and while there may be a market for the meat in high end restaurants, the O’Deas don’t see that as a main focus. Given their very sociable nature, and the fact that most have names, it’s unlikely anyone farming a small herd of alpaca would consider serving up one of their animals for Christmas dinner.

By Elaine Fisher


Dig deep to make name Bay farmer Jeff Going has moved to a different dairy farm each season for the last three – and he’s moving again for the upcoming 2013/2014 term.

Speaking to Coast & Country in May, Jeff says he believes the biggest challenge, in moving to another area, is trying to overcome the fact that you are an unknown. “No-one really knows you – so you’re trying to create a name for yourself, with a bit of hard work,” says Jeff. His first move – from Canterbury to Te Puke – saw him find helpful employers which made all the difference. “I’ve relied on my employers. I’ve been Te Puke sharemilkers Jeff and Ryn Going, 2013’s lucky to have good ones over the last few years. Bay of Plenty sharemilker/equity farmer third place They’ve been really helpful, giving advice – they getters, will move to a new farm this season. make a huge difference to your business,” says Jeff. After being 2IC at a Canterbury 150ha dairy and transport firms – to get the Friesian/Jersey cross farm with 600 cows in 2010/2011, Jeff moved herd to the farm on June 1. to Doug Pamment’s 50ha farm in Te Puke for “This is an area where I used my past employers’ 2011/2012. With 250 cows, he was sole charge and knowledge to help me.” luckily didn’t bring farming gear from Canterbury as Jeff and Ryn’s household goods will be picked up by a he had none. moving company. Jeff ’s wife Ryn works for ANZ as regional manager “The drought is not great but it saw the cows dry off for Rotorua/Taupo. “So, it worked well for both of us early and that has taken the pressure off me in getting – I could keep farming and she could continue her job organised for next year – I’m not stuck in shed every in Rotorua,” says Jeff. day.” Currently on John and Margaret Scrimgeour’s Bush Jeff has enough stock feed for winter but will have to Rd dairy farm of 117ha with 380 cows, Jeff is 22 per plan if he needs more. “I will sort it out between now cent sharemilking, with one employee. and June but it does make me nervous.” For his efforts, he came third in 2013’s NZ Dairy Jeff and Ryn say the Bay of Plenty is very welcoming. Industry Awards’ Bay of Plenty Sharemilker of the Year “We’ve made some good friends – it’s a small enough category. area that you can mingle but you don’t get lost in a Climbing the dairy ladder again, Jeff has three larger dairy region, like the Waikato.” farm bikes, a quad bike and a lot of small farming For a successful move, Jeff advises that planning, equipment and tools that will see him make 10 uteworking hard and having the right attitude are key. and-trailer trips to his new farm for 2013/2014. “When you work hard, and you’re proud of what you He’ll be 50:50 sharemilking John and Linda Fowler’s do people tend to take notice and that creates opportufarm at Allport Rd, Paengaroa. nities for you in future – it’s about taking opportunities Jeff has purchased 350 cows from the Waikato, and Galatea, dealing with a new kettle of fish – stock agents when they’re offered to you.” By Merle Foster

Investment flexibility a must for sector People who make a living from the land often have fluctuations in income because of a poor season, bad weather or the performance of overseas markets. So being able to access investment funds when they are needed is important, says financial adviser Tanya Gilchrist of Decision Makers, in Tauranga. “Farmers and orchardists, because of the often uncertain nature of their incomes, require a degree of flexibility from their investment portfolios, which enable them to draw on funds when they are most needed. “Most of the funds in investments I arrange for my clients are available within three to five days, not three to five months.” Tanya says balancing the need to set funds aside for the future with those of operating a farming or orchard business takes careful planning and knowledge of the types of investments which are available. “Having someone outside the

family, with an objective view point can help people be aware of options to enable informed decision making,” she says. “I enjoy helping clients live the life they want and deserve and the investment vehicle I use is owned by ASB Bank, which provides a high level of security, which then enables people to invest in a diverse range of sectors from property to technology.” Tanya says farmers and growers work very hard and it is important they can plan ahead for financial security and for a holiday, to see the grandchildren, or for special purchases. Good financial planning should enable people to enjoy the benefits of all their hard work.

Page 15


Page 16

Adding innovation to reputation Beyond logs, kiwifruit and fertiliser – a group of Western Bay businesspeople have plans to add innovation to the region’s reputation.

The group, of self-employed professionals, has launched a survey to learn what city businesses believe is needed to foster innovation in the region. Survey co-organiser Jo Allum, who produced the survey with Tina Jennen, says the research aims to find out what is needed to create a supportive environment to foster innovation in Tauranga. Jo, who runs Yojo Design from Priority One's 'Ignition' co-working space, says it is all about discovering what Western Bay innovators need to grow their ideas from seed to success.

"The Bay of Plenty Innovation Survey aims to collect data about the level of ambition and entrepreneurial activity of people here in the Bay. It's a way to reach out to entrepreneurs and find out what they need to develop their business ideas." Jo has been blown away by the diversity and determination of fellow local entrepreneurs since joining Ignition last year, and she says there are world-class ideas being created all around us. “People working on food-technology, public health innovations, hard-core science that improves farming practices, aquaculture initiatives. "These ideas will generate new jobs and new

industries by broadening the BOP economy – selling and distributing crops of knowledge to the world.” Tina, who will analyse the results, is urging all entrepreneurs – from those at school to successful investors – to take part in the survey to help make the Bay the perfect place for innovative business people. To take part in the innovation survey, visit: By Hamish Carter

Bay of Plenty Innovation survey organisers Tina Jennen and Jo Allum want to hear ideas from business people on how to foster innovation.

Photo by Bruce Barnard.

Longevity hallmark of brand Karcher is well known for its rugged, reliable, high-pressure cleaners but those who visit the company’s stand at the Fieldays will discover far more. HAY - SILAGE & STRAW SUPPLIES





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“It is an opportunity for people to see the extensive range of home, garden and professional equipment and machinery the company manufactures,” says Kim McCarthy of Tauranga Karcher agent SMAC Electrical, which will have staff on the Fieldays stand too.

“Some people think just of water blasters when they think of Karcher, but the range is much more than that, including the wet and dry vacuum cleaners. “SMAC Electrical has been in business in Tauranga for 27 years – and for 23 years has been servicing Karcher machines. Karcher products are known for their reliability, and their equipment is backed by warranties and parts. We are still able to supply parts and service for equipment we sold 20 years ago and not many businesses can say that.” Because of SMAC’s experience and long association with Karcher, its staff is able to

recommend the best equipment for each client’s task. “We match the machine to the job.” That’s particularly the case with highpressure cleaners, which are either electric or powered by petrol motors, meaning they can be used in areas where it’s not possible to plug into a power source. The Karcher wet and dry vacuum cleaners are ideal for the home, garage, workshop, renovations, private construction sites and industry. Kim says buying Karcher quality products that are backed by warranties, parts and service, always makes sense.


Page 17

National Psa-V pest management plan now in force

Page 18


Promising green crop despite Psa Bruce and Barbara Abrahams’ Te Puke orchard has a stunning green kiwifruit crop this season, despite being close to the epicentre of the first Psa-V outbreak and the infection being identified in some vines. “I’m really pleased with the count size of 33, which is above the industry average and we are on track to meet the estimate of around 12,700 trays a hectare. Last year we picked 9000 trays a hectare,” says Bruce, who has been growing kiwifruit for 32 years and packing with Trevelyan's Pack and Cool for 17 years. “It seems ironic that in the midst of Psa we should have one of our best crops yet. Two years ago the vines did produce 12,000 trays a hectare but the count size was smaller at 34.5.”

Fruit size is assessed on how many pieces of fruit will fit into an export tray – fewer fruit mean they are larger in size. Some vines on the orchard have been removed because they showed symptoms consistent with Psa-V, the bacterial infection which was first identified in New Zealand on an orchard “just one kilometre away as the crow flies” in 2010. In the case of some plants that were not so seriously affected, infected canes have been cut back, the pruned areas painted with a sealant and the plants retained. “Most have appeared to recover,” says Bruce, who is a former president of the Te Puke Fruitgrowers Association, a past member of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc forum, a former director of Kiwifruit New Zealand and chairman of the ginger group – United Kiwi – formed to defend Zespri as the kiwifruit industry’s single point of entry exporter from efforts to deregulate the industry in 2000.

“United Kiwi had a role that was more that of fighting the government of the day who were imbued with the ideology of de-regulating all producer boards. We had a strong desire to see the retention of SPE. We did act in support of Zespri,” says Bruce. The Abrahams’ orchard has received three copper treatments in September and October as part of Psa management and a conservative fertiliser programme which includes the use of gypsum. However, what has changed is two pre-blossom and two post-blossom applications of a product called Agrizest. “I firmly believe the product has helped improve vine health, fruit numbers and size and is a tool to help give the vines the ability to fight off disease.” Agrizest was invented in recent years by Nathan Balasingham. Agrizest is a plant elicitor and its manufacturer makes no claims for it regarding Psa, however,

Bruce Abrahams is delighted with the crop of green kiwifruit on his Te Puke orchard.

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Nathan does say it can help plants suppress disease and promote plant growth. “Nothing will ever cure Psa. We have to learn to live with it and help plants cope with it.” The lucrative gold variety known as Hort16A is particularly susceptible to the disease and is progressively being removed in most areas, and replaced by the new gold G3 which is believed to be more tolerant of Psa-V. Nathan says what the kiwifruit industry needs is ways to help growers produce sufficient volumes of export quality fruit now. This will give them the financial resources to convert to new varieties, and in turn, bring those into production quickly, so reducing the economic burden on growers and the industry.

Trellis a versatile garden feature The trellis is a versatile and enduring feature for any garden, especially if it is made of quality timber. Those produced by George Kuttel and his nephew Mike Terbit of Emilio’s Timber of Te Puke are so well made, those sold when the company was established 20 years ago are still in existence. “There’s a number of our trellis around which we made when we first started. That’s because we use 12 mm battens milled from clean, treated pine with no knots.” Emilio’s Timber produces trellis for growing climbing plants up to larger components for fencing or garden screens. Each trellis is custom-made to order and clients buy direct from the manufacturer. A trellis is a great way to create privacy, stop wind, or for gates. It can be used as a screen for washing lines, or provide shelter for decks and barbecue areas or to bring a sense of the garden inside by creating a lattice for plants to grow up, or a light and airy structure to connect indoor and outdoor living. Painted or in natural timber finish, trellis can also become a feature in a garden, around an arbour for seating, or a structure to support flowering plants or vegetables.


Page 19

New mineral feed backed by science “Magnesium oxide is an alkaliser, so in certain situations you can raise the pH. “However, overseas work has shown that even if you use it at 90g (three times the dose of the Fertco product recommended per cow, per day) in the rumen environment, for that amount of magnesium oxide against the acid load of a normal 100 litre rumen, it is a minimal and temporary impact. “You have a very small amount of alkaliser in with literally kilos of rumen

Fertco’s new Mineral Boost supplement has gained approval from Ministry of Primary Industries and Fonterra after speculation the original product was causing salmonella outbreaks. Fertco chief executive Warwick Voyce says the new product, launched seven months after the withdrawal of its predecessor, has the tick of approval. “Although more than 20 million doses of Mineral Boost were administered in animals’ feed rations over two seasons, the small number of salmonella cases particularly in the Taranaki region during Spring 2011 resulted in the finger being pointed at Fertco’s MineralBoost G1 product,” he says. He says the company has assessed the product and made improvements, but “the science Dr Jim Gibbs undertook and the other bodies of work Fertco undertook dispelled all of the theory and allowed us to have confidence to return to the market with the new product”. “And that’s what we’ve gone ahead and done. But we did so only with the blessing from the likes of Fonterra, Ministry of Primary Industries, our insurance company – we had to tick a lot of boxes before we got there.” Warwick says when people were looking for answers to the salmonella outbreaks the easy answer was the ‘new kid on the block’. It was only the second year Fertco had the product on the market and because it was fed in a unique physical form it made it easy for it to be singled out as the cause, he says. The difference to other products was the Fertco supplement came in an integrated granule.


“The theory was that the granule was altering the rumen or gut pH and that allowed salmonella to proliferate,” says Warwick. “We decided to be hyper cautious and remove our product from the market until we could be certain there was no correlation between minerals and salmonella.” That decision cost the company millions of dollars and set it back years, he says. “It’s certainly been a fairly tough time for Fertco. “We’d invested a lot of money into supporting the infrastructure around manufacturing it and had employed people specifically. “Not long after we withdrew the product from the

acid. The idea that 30g of magnesium oxide feed a day will dramatically change the rumen or abomasal environment is just plainly wrong.” Fertco’s new MineralBoost G2 products have been specifically designed as rumen dispersible granules and the quality assurance process is very stringent, says Warwick. The new products include MineralBoost Classic, MineralBoost+Rumensin and MineralBoost Max. (Source: Fertco).


market we had to make people redundant, and lost five staff as a direct result. It was unhappy times and caused a lot of stress for people.”

Right thing

Warwick says they had to put their customers first. “We certainly don’t want in any shape or form for our customers to be in the way of any potential harm.” Lincoln University ruminant nutrition scientist and veterinarian Jim Gibbs was shocked when he heard that low dose magnesium oxide was being blamed for raising the rumen pH to a point that it was causing salmonellosis. “I briefly thought it was candid camera (a joke). From a rumen function, rumen physiology point of view, the hypothesis that magnesium oxide at industry doses could change the rumen or gut environment enough to grow salmonella, was plainly wrong. It flew in the face of the large amount of established literature in the field. “The people who were saying this did not understand rumen function,” says Jim. “In normal, healthy fully fed cows, even if you were to use enormous doses of magnesium oxide, and you were to artificially raise the rumen pH, it’s not the pH alone that grows the salmonella.” Fertco formed an R&D committee which contacted Jim to undertake research on the potential correlation between the product and rumen conditions.


He took the work on immediately because he was concerned with the associations being drawn and the risks to the industry if farmers withdrew magnesium oxide. Jim’s study involved feeding cows at 30 per cent above the recommended dose of the 30g of Magnesium Oxide in the product for milking cow rations. “In short, it was very clear that there was no functional significant change in the cow in terms of the rumen environment – and certainly no change in pH.

Page 20


Plan and preparation key to successful shift Two households, two children, two cats, a dog, farm machinery and grandma - are all part of Daryl and Christine Breen’s move from Raglan to Te Kauwhata for the upcoming 2013/2014 season. Currently 22 per cent low-order sharemilkers running a 135ha Te Uku farm with 400 cows for 2012/2013 – the couple were busily packing for their upcoming move when Coast & Country rang last month. Moving to a 50/50 sharemilking job at Te Kauwhata on 82ha will see Daryl and Christine’s son Caleb, 8, and daughter

Jordan, four and a half, join new schools and their grandmother Maria Payne has to move house too. She lives in the worker’s cottage at Te Uku to look after the children when Daryl and Christine are working. The pair will move all their machinery, calving gear and tractor among household and backyard items. “It is a big thing – we are starting now by packing what we don’t need and storing it in a barn at the new place because the sharemilker there is leaving too,” says Daryl. “We’ll leave the main house and whatever we’re still using on the farm until we go on June 1." The couple will hire a 3 tonne truck for moving household items. “We’ll also have two trailers – to pack anything we can fit including motorbikes and tools. We’ll load bigger stuff onto a wagon and tow it with the tractor which will be a three hour trip.”


The Breen family is moving only 1 hour 15 minutes up the road – staying within the Auckland Hauraki district – but planning, packing, cleaning, expense and stress are still involved. “We’re pretty lucky we bought the cows on the Te Kauwhata farm, so we’ve saved a bit of money in that we don’t have to transport them – it also saves a bit of hassle because the cows know the farm and the shed and this reduces training involved and the stress on the animals,” says Daryl. The Breen’s contract states a specified amount of feed will be on hand for winter – any used for drought has to be replaced by the current sharemilker. “When we move we have to leave the same amount,” says Daryl.

Te Uku sharemilkers Daryl and Christine Breen know how to move farms – this season is their seventh shift to climb up the dairy ladder.

Caleb and Jordan will enrol at Waerenga School which is good way for Daryl and Christine to meet their new community. “Taking kids to school is a good way to meet people. We also like to play a bit of squash; and in the farming industry you meet people, by going to the vet, for example.” The Breens are veterans at moving farms. Daryl and Christine are from farming backgrounds in Zimbabwe. They immigrated to New Zealand in 2002 and stuck with it as Daryl cannot stand office environments. He began in Cambridge as a farm worker, went to Matamata as a herd assistant, settled in Morrinsville for seven years – he was a farm manager for two years and a contract milker for a year – and moved three times in the area, before the Raglan job.


“We’ve done a bit of moving but it has always been for the better, to move up the ladder.” His advice to farmers on the move this season is to check out their prospective community first to see if it suits their family, schooling and recreation needs. “When we look at the job we look at the schooling and town, and everything involved – it’s a big thing moving – so we walk round the school, meet the teachers, go to the town and see if it has sport clubs,” says Daryl. “This place [Te Kauwhata] looked good so we signed up.” Planning is also key for a good move. “Most of the time you have one day – June 1 – when a guy is moving out of place that you’re going to and you’ve got to be out of your place by 12 o’clock,” says Daryl. “It’s a stressful day, we try to have as much as we can packed ready to go – we move the cows, come home and chuck everything in the truck. I dump it off at the new farm while my wife is cleaning in the old house ready for the next people.”


Daryl says a trip to talk to teachers adds excitement for the kids but there is still apprehension. “Any kids going to a new place and leaving friends behind feel it but they blend in pretty well – mostly they’ve no choice because we take them to school so we can unpack.” The Breens entered the NZ Dairy industry Awards for 2013 and were finalists in the Auckland/Hauraki Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year section. By Merle Foster

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Recession opportunity for growth To some, a recession is a time to retrench and lay off staff – but Lynne and Andrew Arts of Electrico Matamata saw the impacts of the global financial crisis as an opportunity, not an impediment, for their business.

the Waikato Milking Systems dealership as it means both technicians and electricians from the same company work together on new installations, upgrades or maintenance for dairy farmers. “We are delighted to have the Te Aroha dealership and Waikato Milking Systems has been very supportive in helping us set up. It is great to be

Systems dealership in Te Aroha. Today, Electrico has the ability to provide services, which range from electrical repairs through to new installations and large scale industrial contracts. They also have the ability to take care of all milking and pumping needs. A 24-hour emergency breakdown service is provided,

enabling a quick and efficient back-up response. Electrico is a member of the Electrical Contractors Association of New Zealand. ECANZ provides the company with up-to- date industry-related information and professional support. Electrico is also a member of the New Zealand Milking & Pumping Trade Association.

While others shut up shop or downsized, the couple have grown their company – and two months ago – opened a brand new Waikato Milking Systems dealership in Te Aroha. “We have completely renovated a former cafe in Andrew and Lynne Arts and Don Hunt of the main street and employed Electrico in Te Aroha. well-known local, Don Hunt, associated with such a well-known and who is an experienced and respected innovative company.” milking machine and water pump In Matamata, Electrico staff will contechnician to complement our team of tinue to concentrate on offering a wide electricians,” says Lynne. range of electrical expertise for domestic, The bright new retail store aims to commercial, industrial and rural clients, stock just about everything any farmer with staff also available to support those from dairying, to poultry to pigs and working from the Te Aroha branch. goats may need, including Waikato Electrico Ltd was formed in 1997, Milking Systems parts and a range of with the amalgamation of Romley Elecpumps for water, irrigation and effluent trical & Electronics and Arts Electrical as well as electric motors and parts. Ltd. Electrico has more than 35 years’ In 2007, Lynne and Andrew had just experience in the electrical industry and bought out their previous Electrico partalong with technician Don, has a team ners when the global financial crisis hit. of electricians well-versed in all aspects “Our Matamata business was being of electrical contracting, including for affected by the downturn so we took dairy sheds. Those skills complement on a business coach, who helped us realise that recessions are a great time Waikato Contacts to build up a business and Federated Farmers he helped us do just that,” James Houghton - President says Lynne. T: 07 872 4560 Electrico’s work grew F: 07 872 4563 and staff numbers M: 027 437 7632 increased. E: Aware of the need to plan ahead, Lynne and Young Farmers Andrew went on to Cambridge employ a business conKayleigh Hatt sultant to help prepare a 027 847 6019 five-year plan and as result of that advice, looked to Franklin diversify their business. Rob Cashmore This led to the decision 09 292 2671 to open a new branch and the Waikato Milking Hamilton City Natalie Watkins 027 260 7667 NEW AUTHORISED WAIKATO MILKING SYSTEMS DEALER North Waikato Ethan Beattie 021 206 3604

Electrico Pic & ed

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Hauraki James Courtman 027 341 6907 Hamilton City Council Garden Place, Hamilton 07 838 6699 Waikato Regional Council 401 Grey St, Hamilton 07 859 0999


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Excellent ‘squeegees’ by digger Farmers can now clean their feed pads with a giant ‘squeegee’ mounted on the front of a tractor, thanks to a device manufactured by Rural Engineering of Waihou, in the Waikato. The company, owned by father and son Neville and Brad Johnson, manu-

facture the cleaning device from used rubber digger tracks mounted on a steel frame with a quick hitch to attach to the vehicle of choice. “Once attached, it’s just a matter of driving up and down the pad, pushing the poo into the sump or where ever the farmer wants it to go,” says Brad. The used digger tracks are rugged and still have plenty of life left in them so they should, in most cases, last at least five to six years before needing to

be turned over. “We can make them to whatever width is required. The smallest we make is 2.8 metres but some farmers want even wider ones so they can make fewer passes up and down the pad.” The scrapers are not only highly effective, but also an excellent use of rubber which might otherwise be dumped. The company has shipped them to South Island farms and farmers all over the North Island too.

Used digger tracks have been adapted to become feed pad scrapers.

Fun Run/Walk is a highlight for the community. Image courtesy of DairyNZ

Running or walking for fun A major sponsor, 100% Heathcote Appliances, has been secured for the 12th annual Morrinsville College Fun Run/Walk in October, says Donna Arnold, chairperson of the Morrinsville College PTA. Organisation for the fun run/walk of 5km, 10km and half marathon on Sunday, October 20 is well underway. “This is an annual event on the Morrinsville community calendar and is always well supported by locals and ‘out of towners’ of all ages and abilities,” says Donna. “The Morrinsville College is very fortunate to have a very supportive and enthusiastic PTA which has the daunting task of organising an event which attracts great numbers of


R u r a l E n g i n e e r i n g L td

participants from all over the North Island.” The added attraction this year is that the organising committee is looking at a new course around the streets of Morrinsville to keep the event “fresh and interesting” especially for those tackling the half marathon. “Without the support of the local businesses this event could not be held. We are fortunate to have many businesses and locals that help out in many ways and we are able to provide all the competitors with a fantastic event complete with a goodie bag filled with sponsors’ products, a certificate at the finish line and a chance to win some awesome prizes at the prize giving including prizes for best dressed. “It is very encouraging to see so many people doing something healthy and energetic and also supporting Morrinsville College.” For more enquiries email Donna Arnold:


Fundraiser fatal for possums The countdown is on for pesky possums with Lake Rerewhakaaitu School’s annual ‘Possum Punishment’. The popular PTA fundraiser for the country school begins Thursday, June 13 and concludes on Sunday, June 16 with the final tally and prize giving. Teams of up to five adults, plus accompanying children, may choose to hunt during the extended weekend or for just one night. More marsupials, however, will mean a greater chance of scooping a fantastic prize from the estimated prize pool of more than $5000. In addition to valued support from major sponsors Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand, RD1, Ecolab, Bayer and TB Free New Zealand, a host of cash, merchandise and voucher prizes has been donated by the local business and tourism community. “We have had fantastic support for our event this year,” says school PTA chairperson Angela Robinson. “Further to our main cash prizes we are able to offer a range of exciting spot prizes including passes to local tourist destinations such as Skyline Rotorua,

Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Polynesian Spa, Tamaki Maori Village, River Rats Rafting, Zorb Rotorua, Rainbow Springs and Tauranga Marine Charters. Local rural providers have also really come to the party with heaps of merchandise up for grabs.” The team with the most possums can choose from the top prize tier of either $400 cash, $500 worth of vouchers from local businesses or one-year pass to Waikite Hot Pools with petrol vouchers and clothing. But it’s not only the top three teams who will be well rewarded – there is still great opportunity to win big with the stakes raised – per possum. All teams are awarded a ticket per entrant for the spot prizes, but for every five possums handed in, teams will earn an extra ticket to increase their chances to win. As well as cash, merchandise and vouchers, one lucky hunter will win a new .22 rifle courtesy of Hunting & Fishing Rotorua. Tired contestants can enjoy a fun prize giving on Sunday at Rerewhakaaitu Domain, with novelty events such as the ‘Marsupial Mile’, a tally guess and children’s games. A traditional hangi and sausage sizzle will also be available. “We would also like to extend a warm welcome to anyone else interested to come down and join us for the food and entertainment,” says Angela. To secure your entry in this year’s Possum Punishment event, phone Angela Robinson on 07 366 6697 or Rachel Thomas on 07 366 6036. Entry forms are available at Hunting & Fishing and Hamills Rotorua. By Jo Roberts in Rotorua

Red meat conference next month The third Annual Red Meat Sector Conference is at The Langham Auckland on Monday, July 8. It is jointly hosted by the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand Inc - a voluntary trade association representing New Zealand meat processors, marketers and exporters – and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd - the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand's sheep and beef farmers.

The Red Meat Sector Conference 2013 will provide delegates from across the red meat sector with a programme of high quality speakers and ample opportunity to network. The goal of the conference is to promote and foster the red meat sector by providing a framework for engagement between farmers, industry and service providers as well as showcasing expertise and best practice. The MIA and B+LNZ developed the Red Meat Sector Strategy in May 2011. The Strategy reflects the broad recognition of the underlying challenges to the sector's

sustainable profitability, but also clearly defines the opportunities for the sector to realise its full potential and continue to be a principal driver of New Zealand's economy. Two major social events are planned during the conference: a welcome cocktail function on Sunday, July 7 and a gala dinner on Monday, July 8 - both hosted at The Langham Hotel, on Symonds Street, Auckland. The Red Meat Sector website will be continually updated as speakers, sponsors and other details are finalised. Go to

Possums out-number people 15 to 1 It’s estimated that there are 70 million possums living in New Zealand, says Rob Griffiths, Department of Conservation community ranger for the Rotorua Lakes area. “Obviously, we’ve never been able to count every possum in New Zealand. But if we divided them, there are about 15 possums per person. Or if you like, for every five people there are 75 possums – imagine all those nibbling away in your backyard. There’d be no greenery left.” Rob says it is the introduced pest’s habit of browsing on a single tree until no vegetation is left and causing it to die, that makes it so destructive to our native bush. That’s why DOC is happy to support community possum hunting initiatives like the Lake Rerewhakaaitu School’s annual ‘Possum Punishment’ event from June 13 to 16. “These events can have an impact on possum numbers and create revenue for the school from the fur, but

they also raise awareness in the community about just what a pest these possums are.” Rob says DOC, which sponsors some of the prizes for the event, also gains much useful information from the survey forms entrants are asked to fill in, especially when it comes to details about wallaby. “We ask those taking part to fill in details if they have seen wallaby. We know there are resident populations around some of the lakes and we want to know if they have spread any further – so information from the survey forms can be very useful.” Wallaby cause considerable damage to the under storey of the forest by eating young seedlings as they emerge. “Wallaby are not easy to trap or poison. Although, they are easy to shoot [they feed in open grass areas and just sit there chewing until the first shot]. But with no fur trade and little meat value, no one really shoots them much, so controlling their population is challenging,” says Rob. By Elaine Fisher

Central Plateau contacts Federated Farmers Rotorua Taupo Neil Heather (President) T: 07 357 2142 F: 07 357 2908 E: Young Farmers Reporoa Alistair Neville 021 366 873 Taupo District Council Story Place, Taupo 07 376 0070 Taupo i-Site 30 Tongariro St, Taupo 07 376 0027 Turangi i-Site Ngawaka Place, Turangi 07 386 8999

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Shearer statue’s hidden secret Te Kuiti’s seven metre shearer statue has some special items hidden within.

The 7.5 tonne statue which dominates the southern end of town was made by artist Dennis Hall of Takapau, Hawke’s Bay, who took 12 months to create it.

In May 1994, three time capsules carrying messages from the past to the future were sealed inside the figure, to be opened in 2024, 2054 and 2084.

He began by carving the figure from polystyrene in the stables of his Oruawharo Station home, and then cut the statue into manageable pieces.

Each was coated in glass fibre and cement, and the polystyrene melted out from inside. In March 1994, the then Governor General Dame Kath Tizard unveiled the figure. It is a tribute to the world-beating shearers who have come from the King Country, and to the town of Te Kuiti which is recognised as the sheep shearing capital of the

world and holds the annual New Zealand National Shearing Championships. Of all the ‘big’ icons in towns around New Zealand, including the carrot at Ohakune, the big salmon at Rika and Paeroa’s oversized Lemon and Paeroa bottle, Te Kuiti’s shearer is probably the most imposing, and is of course a must for tourists snaps.

Symbols in quiet garden


A little slice of Japan is nestled at the southern end of the Te Kuiti’s Rora St in the form of the Tatsuno Japanese Garden. Established in 1998, it is a gift to provide a permanent and tangible symbol of the importance of the sister


city relationship that has developed between the communities of Waitomo and Tatsuno, in Japan. Many aspects of the garden have important cultural meaning for Japanese people and it features the azumaya (tea house - pavilion), pagoda

and gata (lantern). When the garden was under construction, Nichiroku Akahane and his two sons travelled from Japan to Te Kuiti to supervise the work and ensure it conformed to Japanese traditions. The garden is a quiet, restful place and an illustrated sign explains the names and significance of each of its features, which are enhanced by plantings of Japanese trees, shrubs and climbers.

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Break downs at the height of the season are disruptive so it makes sense to take advantage of the time when the dairy is not in use to do a thorough service, he says. Experienced Dairyworx milking systems technicians can often pick up problems missed by farmers. “Our technicians will often identify that something isn’t sounding right, but has been missed by those working in the shed all the time because they have become used to the noise.” Hayden says strict equipment hygiene rules, about to be introduced by dairy companies, are likely to mean rubber ware will have to be replaced regularly to ensure it doesn’t harbour any bacteria. Replacing rubber ware and other consumables, and checking, lubricating and servicing all aspects of the milking system are part of the annual service carried out by Dairyworx for its clients. The company, which is soon to move into a brand new building with showroom, office and workshop, has been the Milfos (now GEA) agent in the region for three years. The company is also agents for Westfalia

also part of GEA , and for the Houle drainage and effluent systems. Dairyworx staff are all local technicians who know the district and their clients. “Because we are local we can attend emergency call outs within a very short time,” says Hayden.

Dairyworx has outgrown its current premises and is due to move into a purpose-built facility now under construction.

King Country Federated Farmers Lyn Neeson Category: Provincial Presidents Position: Ruapehu T: 07 893 8547 M: 027 353 7907 E: Young Farmers Taumarunui Anita Kendrick 027 814 7433 North King Country Chairman: Amy Tomsett 027 240 2729 Otorohanga District Council 17 Maniapoto St, Otorohanga 0800 734 000 Waitomo District Council Queen St, Te Kuiti 0800 932 4357 Otorohanga i-Site 27 Turongo St, Otorohanga 07 873 8951 Te Kuiti i-Site Rora St, Te Kuiti 07 878 8077 Ruapehu District Council 59-63 Hui St, Taumarunui 07 895 8188 Ruapehu i-Site Railway Station, Hakiaha St, Taumarunui 07 895 7494


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Young farmer takes the win After two days of competing, Waikato/Bay of Plenty region representative Tim Van de Molen is the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest champion. The ANZ agri-manager - and Hamilton farm owner was runner up in the 2011 Grand Final. This time, Tim says he is honoured to have taken out the 2013 title. “I’m just delighted with the outcome, it is been a long road to get here. It’s an absolute honour and a privilege.” The 30-year-old sees the accomplishment as a stepping stone into a broader role in the rural sector. “Agriculture is what this country is built on, it’s that pioneering spirit that formed our country and I’m very proud of that and keen to be involved”. Tim also took out the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge and received $9500 toward an industryrelated conference package. But, Tim was not the only winner on Auckland’s TVNZ Studio stage last month. Aorangi’s Matthew Bell, the youngest competitor, won the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge and is now the proud owner of $14,000 worth of Ravensdown and C-Dax products and services. Taranaki/Manawatu’s Cam Brown triumphed in the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge and won a $15,000 AGMARDT scholarship toward a careerdevelopment programme. Reuben Carter from Otago, Southland, dominated the Silver Fern Farms Agri-sport Challenge winning a Silver Fern Farms and FarmIQ farmer technology package worth $5000. Organisers say this year’s contest was not for the faint of heart with the heavy downpour during the Practical Day at Kumeu Showgrounds added to the complexity of the challenges. The grand finalists from seven regions, had their

skills, stamina and strength all put to the test, completing tasks including cooking a gourmet meal, building a miniature farm, sheep shearing and fence building. The young farmers’ business skills were also tested in an HR module, a business presentation and a panel interview, including the physically demanding Agrisports Challenge. Tim was slightly behind the pack during the practical day. But with contestants delivering convincing and engaging speeches during the Friday night ANZ Grand Final Dinner, Tim quickly reversed the scoreboard during the evening show and question rounds. In his speech, Tim thanked his family, his partner Hilary, the organizing committee, the other contestants, and the sponsors for their competition support. “It’s hugely important how [the sponsors] have continued to front up in these trying economic times and while the prizes are fantastic, it’s even more important to note that they are here because they are aligned with the same things that the contest stands for: passion for driving the industry forward”. The young farmer says his preparation for the contest relied upon the wider agricultural industry. “It’s about getting out and getting involved in the industry and using those opportunities and connections to build your network and build your knowledge base.” Tim was awarded nearly $70,000 in prizes including $10,000 from ANZ, entrance to Kellogg’s Rural Programme from Lincoln University valued at $5000, Ravensdown and C-Dax products, and an AGMARDT scholarship towards a career-development programme worth $2000. He also received a gourmet barbecue and a Silver Fern Farms farm technology package and FarmIQ worth $10,000, a Honda TRX500FRM ATV and EU20 Inverter generator worth $19,700, Husqvarna power equipment worth $8000, and $7000 of Vodafone products and services. He will also be taking the coveted trophy back home

to the Waikato. “It will live above the fireplace”, he says. Tim’s advice for aspiring young farmer competitors is once something is done, it’s done. “And if you weren’t happy with it, just put it behind you and continue”. As for the future, Tim wants to relax and get back into the swing of normal day-to-day life, but is still eager and excited for the opportunities awaiting him. “It’s been a wonderful journey but, for me there is certainly more. It’s not the end, just the beginning. I’m passionate about agriculture and I hope this will be a springboard to continue that involvement long-term”. Waikato/Bay of Plenty representative By Zoe Hunter Tim Van de Molen is the 2013 Young Farmers Contest champion.


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Electronic tagging makes calving easy Waikato dairy farmers, Shane and Sylvie Morgan, wouldn’t be without MINDA Mobile during calving, and they’re currently updating their records in preparation for the busy time ahead. The Te Awamutu couple ditched their yellow notebooks almost two years ago after trialling MINDA Mobile – and they haven’t looked back since. “We were so impressed, we had to buy it. It has made everything very simple out in the field,” says Sylvie. She believes the awardwinning device has made key onfarm tasks simple and easy, particularly during calving. “I put electronic notes on each cow and then when I have my hand-held out in the paddock, and I find a calf, I can look-up its mother’s details and it’ll have a flashing reminder telling me what to do with the calf and how it should be tagged.” Sylvie says the device saves a lot

than once for the same animal, within an abnormal time frame. Shane and Sylvie use their hand held for all big farming events, including culling and mating. They’re currently updating their records for each cow and adding in any necessary reminders about which ones need to be watched – especially early and late calvers, expected calving patterns and identifying cows that tend to go down. Sylvie says the biggest difference she has found using MINDA Mobile is the little time needed to record and up-date this sort of information. “You just punch events in when you’re in the field, sync the hand held with the home computer and the records are done. “That’s it – I don’t have to write things down Sylvie Morgan used MINDA and Shane can to help with calving. instantly check everything. It's like having a computer out in the field.” Sylvie describes the handheld mobile device as ‘a neat first thing in the morning, and little tool’ that removes duplication MINDA Mobile provides us with and reduces the room for error. the information we need to ensure “The bottom line is MINDA correct identification on the spot.” Mobile is user-friendly, easy to MINDA Mobile will also give follow and has made many day-today tasks on farm a whole warnings if the same event, for lot easier.” example, a calving, is entered more of time, and leaves less room for error because you can tag the calf as soon as you find it. “Previously during calving, we would have to go back to the house after finding a calf to look up its mother, and then go back and find the calf again to tag it appropriately. By then, it could have moved to another cow,” says Sylvie. “There’s always a better chance of them being with their real mother

Hoof care idea led to new career Twenty years ago, when Wilco Klein Ovink was contract milking on an Edgecumbe farm, he cobbled together a structure to make hoof care of dairy cows easier, and set in train a whole new career. The framework Wilco, and a Danish student with a skill in welding, put together became the prototype for The Wrangler – and the company Wilco and wife Waverley founded, based on the success of the first model. Today, more than 1100 Wranglers have been sold, most in New Zealand but some to Australia and South America, and as well as foot care, they are also used for calving, caesarean or other

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veterinary procedures too. “I started contract milking for Bruce and Ian Murray in 1991 and it was two years later that I first came up with the concept of the Wrangler. We didn’t have many lame cows and working on their hind feet was not too hard, but it got difficult Wilco Klein Ovink with and potentially the brand new Wrangler installed on the Murray farm dangerous trying to do their front near Edgecumbe. feet,” says Wilco. “When the vet saw it he said I should make them commercially because he could see the significant advantages it offered for both the safety of the cow and those working on her.” Wilco entered his design in the Fieldays Innovations Awards and won, giving him and wife Waverley the confidence to begin their own company. The Murray Brothers continued to use the Wrangler prototype even after Wilco left the farm but last year installed a brand new one in their new dairy complex. “I was delighted that Ian and Bruce decided to install a new Wrangler when they built their dairy,” says Wilco. It is located near the drafting gate, and is under the roofline, with overhead lights, so cows can be tended to at any time day or night.

Page 27


Human welfare important during calving time Eating and sleeping well are important, but not always easy, during calving but planning ahead can help farmers get through one of the busiest times on the farm, says Belinda Spratt of Pukehina. “I really enjoy calving but you can get pretty tired and run down if you don’t eat and sleep well. I make up a menu at the beginning of the week and make sure I have the ingredients I need so I don’t have to think too hard about what to cook,” says Belinda, who with partner Ivan Burgener milk 260 cows on the coastal Spratt family farm. “Slow cookers are great. I often do all the vegetables and meat at

lunch time, put them in the cooker and know a hot meal will be ready when we get in at the end of the day. “That’s much better than going for something quick and easy which might not be as nourishing or filling.” Belinda has been dairy farming for 17 years, and during calving, the day begins for her and Ivan at 5am and ends around 6.30pm. If the weather is wet and cold there’s usually another trip out to check for new born calves which are taken into the warmth of the shed and fed colostrum. “We don’t usually have too many cows with problems calving

Belinda Spratt with Lily, one of triplet heifers born in 2005 and still part of the herd.

Calf feeders made by calf rearers Engineering skills and hands on farming experience are combined in the calf feeders designed and built by Whakatane-based Wilco Engineering. Glennis and Garry Wilson used to raise 350 calves and know what works for both animals and farmers. They pair has put that knowledge to good use in the range of mobile or hanging calf feeders they manufacturer. Glennis says the feeders on wheels or skids can be towed to paddocks, or the hanging model attached to the wall of a calf rearing barn.

“We now have a big feeder because the couple had seen a which can house a round bale. All need, as calf rearers themselves, to manufacture a quality product the feeders are covered to protect that is practical, efficient and the feed and are built to last. “Our specialty calf rearing robust enough to stand up to daily products are now spread all over rigours in all conditions. New Zealand with our hay and “Farmers like our products hay/meal feeders from Ranfurly in because they are quick and easy to use and farmers can use them for the South Island, to Kaitaia in the North Island, as hay or meal. well as our self“People seem to like the fact that loading EZI-Load we build calf feeders for people just like us,” says Gary. range of static “We’ve been going to the large bale feeders and ATV National Agriculture Fieldays trailers” for five years now and each year Wilco was we get more orders than the last. Many of the people we’ve sold to formed by Gary in the past come back for more, so and Glennis in 2003 and centred that just says a lot about how good around maintenance at our products are. “We’d love to see farmers at this the local pulp and paper mills year’s Fieldays site – F9, opposite – which Gary had been involved the Swazi stand.” with for 20 years, as well as general engineering work for the farming community. Mobile calf feeders which keep feed At this time the farming proddry are designed manufactured by ucts were designed and developed Wilco Engineering.

and we don’t induce. We select our animals on traits, one of them being that they calve easily, and another important one is temperament. We don’t have a high BW herd but our cows perform well.” The first calves in the herd are due around July 31, later than many in the

district, but Belinda says calving at that time means less stress waiting for the feed demand/balance date to be met. While animal welfare is top of mind for most farmers during calving, they shouldn’t forget about their own health and ensure they eat and sleep well, Belinda says.

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Nine in line for supreme award

Raglan’s Jason Dickey (Kawasaki KX250F), is being picked as a fastrising superstar of the cross-country code after taking second place in the national series. Photo by Andy McGechan,

The 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards have produced another outstanding line-up of ambassadors for environmental sustainability says NZFE general manager David Natzke.

Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Walton farmers Grant Wills and Karen Preston were named supreme winners in the Waikato, with Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm, Hawke’s Bay, collecting the top title for the East Coast. The supreme award for the Horizons region went to WaiSupreme winners from the nine tuna West farmers Curwen and regions participating in Marija Hare and Central the annual awards Wairarapa farmhave now been ers Michael named and and Karen I think that everyone these Williams farming that entered the won the leaders competition found it Greater will be a truly worthwhile Welhonoured lington experience. at a SusBallance tainability Farm Showcase in Environment June. Awards, while MethThe awards celebrate ven farmers Craige and Roz those people who use best pracMackenzie won in Canterbury. tises to farm in a manner that is Jock Webster, Nick Webster economically, environmentally and Peter Mitchell of the Mitchand socially sustainable. ell Webster Group received the This year’s Supreme Award supreme award in the Otago Balwinners include Tauranga farmers lance Farm Environment Awards, Dennis, Judith and Gordon McF- and Abe and Anita de Wolde were etridge, Supreme winners for the supreme winners for Southland. Bay of Plenty region and Kokopu The nine regional winners will siblings Shayne and Charmaine now be assessed by the New O’Shea, who won the Northland Zealand Farm Environment Trust

national judging panel and a national winner will be chosen to receive the prestigious Gordon Stephenson trophy. David says the 2013 Supreme Award winners comprised four dairy farming operations, three arable and two sheep and beef “and we’ve not had that combination before”. “The calibre of entrants in the 2013 awards is first class, with incredible enthusiasm, commitment and skill shown by the supreme winners. A host of other category award winners were also recognised for their efforts in improving environmental management. “I think that everyone that entered the competition found it a truly worthwhile experience.” The achievements of those winners will be celebrated at NZFE’s Sustainability Showcase at the Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton on June 22 where the winners of the Gordon Stephenson trophy will be announced and last year’s winners, North Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith will be in attendance. Ticket enquiries for the 2013 sustainability showcase should be directed to David Natzke, phone 07 834 0400 or email david.

Cross country beyond the farm gate

Waikato dairy farmer Jason Dickey’s success riding his Kawasaki beyond the farm gate has him picked as a fastrising superstar of the cross-country circuit. Jason, an 18-year-old dairy farm manager in Raglan, has just wrapped up another successful season on his KX250F, finishing senior grade runnerup at the New Zealand Cross-country Championships – after taking second place in the fourth and final round of the series in Norsewood on May 18. Following his fifth placing last season – in his first senior campaign – Jason’s improved form saw him keep defending champion Adrian Smith, 27, of Mokau, on his toes throughout the series, with results including a win at the opening championship event near Te Anau in

February. Jason, who is still gaining experience at the top level, says there is plenty more still to come as he continues to gather momentum. He won the national junior cross-country champion in 2011, before moving to the senior ranks. After starting the season well, he finished fifth at the second round in Taranaki in March, before a disastrous third round near Mosgiel in April, where he finished last, and effectively ruined his tilt at the title. A fighting finish in the last round on steep farmland near Norsewood gave him some consolation for his hard work and sent a warning signal to Smith that he’ll again have a fight on his hands next season. After “going nowhere for a while”, Jason says he pushed hard and started picking off riders to work his way up to second.


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Farmy Army Navy... ...delivers much needed feed John Scrimgeour, Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers vice-president overseeing the final delivery of stock feed from the South Island. Delivering stock feed to drought-affected North Island farmers was an operation in logistics and co-operation.

It took a “Farmy Army Navy” to co-ordinate the logistics and deliver 100,000 small bale equivalents of urgently needed stock feed to North Island farmers this autumn, says David Clark, Federated Farmers grain & seed vicechairperson. The last shipment arrived at the Port of Tauranga on May 16. “The entire drought feed operation has become the ‘Farmy Army Navy’, due to the mix of farmers and companies involved. “Given the acronym, I am a big FAN of the companies, farmers and shippers involved. In six weeks, we have worked extraordinarily long hours to get some 100,000 bales of rye-grass and barley straw into the Port of Tauranga,” says David. He says without Pacifica Shipping or the Port of Tauranga none of this would have been possible “and people need to know that”. “The final Tauranga shipment was delivered by Pacifica Shipping last Thursday [May 16] and was unpacked by Neville Marsh Contracting over Thursday. This marks the final delivery into the Port of Tauranga but deliveries are continuing into the Port of Napier.” David says all of these companies have gone above and beyond the call of duty. “They have done much at cost and have even lent us the odd bit of equipment to clean-up too. “To say Federated Farmers shipping bulk straw is unusual is an understatement. Every single person we have dealt with has bent over backwards to help us solve some unique challenges – that’s why its spirit is very much that of the Farmy Army. “I must say a huge thanks to the Port of Lyttelton where our feed shipments were dispatched from and especially to NZ Express Transport for packing the containers. That has been massive and continues with the on-going operation into Napier.” David says everyone’s focus is to help pastoral farmers through winter “and to the green fields of spring beyond”. Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers vice-president John Scrimgeour says in total the South Island has supplied

Photos by Tracy Hardy.

170 containers of feed during the last few months which has gone to farmers in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato. A further 6000 or more bales have been shipped to the Hawkes Bay. “North Island farmers very much appreciate the help, and to have the feed to look after their stock.” The final shipment was of rye grass straw, packed into 17 containers, each containing about 34 large bales. Because the feed is potentially flammable, it could not be transported in the holds of coastal vessels and so came in containers, which had to be cleaned and made ready for their next load in a very short timeframe. John has been the person sweeping out the straw on nearly all of the containers arriving at Tauranga – despite the fact none of the feed has gone to his farm. Farmers throughout the North Island have been hard hit by the prolonged summer drought which forced many to reduce stock numbers, and feed remaining animals with hay and silage set aside for the coming winter. John says the support from the South Island has more than a practical value. “Farmers have been under stress and it is a relief to know they can feed their animals. It is also a comfort to know others are thinking of them. That’s the great thing about rural communities – people help each other out in times of need.” Despite recent rain and grass growth, John says the coming winter will be hard for many farmers as stock recover from the stresses caused by the drought.


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Improving condition Protecting wetlands and seeps for calving

June is going to be the most challenging month this year in many parts of the North Island, as the main worry is to get some condition onto cows before calving. The textbook Body Condition Score (BCS) target of 5.0 for cows calving will nowhere be achievable this year, and even in good years is rarely achieved because, if you are brutally honest, farmers and consultants are not good at condition scoring cows. Most take BCS 4.5 to be a BCS 5.0 – so this means that on an average cow, there’s 180kg DM that it won’t get through error. Too many accept an ‘average’ BCS for the herd. This is meaningless, as the score invented 40-plus years ago by Ralph du Faur, was as a ‘target’, which every cow had to reach. BCS 5.0 for calving is rarely achieved over a whole herd, as such cows have fully rounded hips. If you can feel any flat on the hipbones, that cow has to be less than BCS 5.0. What is most important to know, is how many cows are scoring at the lower end of the scale – particularly under BCS 3.0, which under the Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare are

officially ‘emaciated’ and need some serious extra care. It’s far too common for farmers who run out of feed and run out of time, to get thin cows back to anywhere near target calving condition, even in average years because they milk too long when cash is tight. This year it will be totally impossible, so it’s very important to have an emergency plan for calving them as there could be an extra range of problems. There will clearly be reduced production, as well as calving problems, higher calf mortality, metabolic diseases, retained afterbirths, high SCC, mastitis and lameness. Wormade’s clients have shown that by giving the cow’s natural (genetic) immune levels an extra boost using the OMS Nutritional Supplement Plan works well, and is certainly cost effective. So any cow which is looking ‘under the weather’ a month before calving, is orally dosed with OMS to help her through the transition period – a high stress time for any cow, and especially heifers and second calvers, even in a good season. Then any cow that has had problems associated with calving, and still looks under stress and is clearly not coping, can be given another immune boosting dose. (Supplied by Wormade)


Wetlands are unique features of the New Zealand landscape. These can include lakes, ponds, lagoons, bogs, salt marshes and estuaries. Landowners with significant wetlands on their properties should consider protecting and restoring them as important natural habitats. Wetlands slow and filter water flowing off the land. In times of flood, water is absorbed by wetlands and is slowly released again in summer. This helps maintain flow in waterways, which is good for surface water takes and in-stream life. Smaller wet areas, such as seeps, can also play a role in filtering pollutants from runoff and groundwater.

Cattle trampling will also reduce the ability of wet areas to absorb water. • They may need some planting. Native sedges, raupo, rushes and flax grow well in these areas. They can all be split and the sections planted out. Be careful with tree planting here. It can be counterproductive by drying out the soil and shading smaller plants. Wetlands, seeps and swamps can also be used to filter runoff from tile and mole drains before it flows into streams.


Once nitrogen has found its way into groundwater, it can be removed where it reappears at the surface (by plant roots growing out) in springs, wetlands and seeps. Keeping these areas wet and well-covered with grasses and rushes is essential for maximizing nitrogen removal. There are a few conditions necessary for wet areas to be effective as filters. • They must remain wet for all or most of the year. Many wet areas on farms have already been drained. For them to improve water quality, they’ll need to stay wet. • They must be fenced from stock. Most sedges, rushes and flax are palatable to stock. They need protection as they help to slow the flow, filter water, and provide a carbon source for the bacteria that remove nitrogen.

Race and track runoff can be diverted into constructed wetlands as well. If this is done, care must be taken not to smother the area with sediment.

Temporary fencing

For areas which are inconvenient to fence permanently (those that are only wet in winter, for example), can still achieve improved water quality with temporary electric fencing. This will help protect these areas from pugging and reduce the amount of sediment entering the waterway. Such areas may be grazed in summer when they naturally dry out. This article is adapted from the seventh in a series of nine DairyNZ Farmfacts on managing waterways on farms. They can be viewed at: in the Farmfacts – Environment section.


Wetlands need to stay wet and be free from stock trampling them, to be effective filters.

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Feed and condition top of mind for farmers Feed and condition should be farmers’ focus for their cows at this time of year as, unlike the weather, this is what they have control over and because if they have not got those two right, they may be limiting their options. The grass might be growing but unless cows are being fed some fibre as well, the grass will go right through them, and they won’t put on condition as fast. Farmers I have spoken to who fed fibre last spring said they were impressed at how milk production increased and that they again saw their cows chewing the cud, a sure sign their stomachs are working well to extract all the goodness out of their feed. Many farmers are also feeding high energy feed to cows, including maize silage and meal supplements in the shed but unless cows have access to fibre they don’t get the best from those feeds either. Animals which don’t put on condition now won’t do so well at calving either, which is only about six weeks away.

While it has been reasonably mild there will be a turnaround in the weather soon and frost on top of wet ground will certainly slow down grass growth. Many farmers will have invested time and money in renewing some of their pasture this season and now is the time to follow up that work with weed spraying to ensure the best results. Keeping pugging of paddock to a minimum is also advisable as pugging can impact on spring grass growth. We’ve just returned from the South Island and there is not a lot of feed left in storage down there because so much came north to help farmers through the drought. Despite the volumes which came north there is a demand for feed here and we still have some straw, some silage and fresh rye grass straw but not a lot, so getting orders in now is a good idea. As well as keeping animals in good condition through the winter, now is also the time to plan ahead for maize crops. Last season many growers, ourselves included, committed some of our crops for grain instead of silage because some farmers would not commit themselves to contracts early.

Many farmers will have invested time and money in renewing some of their pasture this season and now is the time to follow up that work with weed spraying to ensure the best results.


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The previous year many of us were left with surplus maize and couldn’t take the risk of being caught like that again because it is such an expensive crop to grow. Farmers who did sign contracts got a good deal and also had peace of mind of knowing their feed needs were taken care of and exactly what it would

cost so they could allow for it in their budget. That makes good sense and avoids any unpleasant surprises caused by a spike in prices or lack of maize when you want it. We are taking orders now and will set aside the number of hectares farmers want us to grow for them, or agree on a bulk supply.

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No subsidy for Fonterra farmers

Fonterra farmers no longer qualify for funding to help fence out waterways, Warwick Murray, Land Management group manager for Bay of Plenty Regional Council, told the Bay of Plenty branch of Federated Farmers’ conference in May. Because fencing waterways and wetlands was now part of Fonterra’s conditions of supply, council had decided not to offer those farmers assistance. A 25 per cent subsidy was available to farmers who wanted to do more than Fonterra required, he said. That assistance, also available to sheep and beef farmers, included the provision of plants at cost. Whakatane District Council councillor and farmer Gerard Van Beek said the policy was unfair.

“You are treating one part of society significantly differently from another. That is not fair and equitable. We are all ratepayers.” Warwick said in the past, council had provided a 75 per cent subsidy for fencing out riparian areas but that had been phased out as council did not think the public should have to pay for clean waterways. That was the landowner’s responsibility. Alan Law, a member of the Bay of Plenty branch of Federated Farmers executive, said farmers were good stewards of the land and that stewardship should be recognised. “We are not perfect but dairy farmers in particular spend a small fortune on the environment and it is time the rest of the country stepped up as well.” Warwick told the meeting that 65 per cent of New Zealand’s land area was in pastoral farming or exotic forest – and every year six tonnes of top soil per hectare was lost into rivers, streams, harbours and even-

tually out to sea. Sedimentation, much of it from pastoral farming, was a major cause of the expansion of mangroves in the Tauranga Harbour. Nutrient enrichment was also to blame for algal blooms in the Rotorua Lakes where agreements were being reached with farmers on how to reduce levels to those the lakes could cope with. Changes in land use, stocking rates, planting erosion-prone areas, waterways and wetlands and keeping stock out were among the ways of reducing soil loss. Exotic forestry, done carefully and in the The Ministry for Primary Industries is right place could be quite profitable. And seeking feedback on a proposed national even though there could be a significant loss of soil during the harvest period, over the policy direction for pest management 25 year life of the forest it was significantly plans and programmes. less than that lost from pastoral farming. Warwick said council’s land management The feedback will be used to produce a national officers were available to give advice and policy direction aimed to ensure pest management help farmers come up with plans to best plans and programmes across New Zealand are clear manage environmental issues on their land. and consistent, and provide the best value, says John Sanson, MPI national coordination manager of Preparedness and Partnerships. The public and stakeholders will also be asked for feedback on a new process for MPI to assign pest management responsibilities. “The process will be used when indecision or excessive debate is holding up taking action on important pest management decisions.” Both the new process and the national policy direction are required as part of the 2012 reforms to the Biosecurity Act. MPI is due to report its findings and recommendations from the consultation to the Minister for Primary industries in the second half of 2013. The national policy direction and new regulations setting out a process for assigning pest management responsibilities are estimated to come into force by the end of the year. Further information about the consultation, including the discussion documents can be found at: www. All written submissions must be received by the MPI, by 5pm Friday, June 14, 2013. Submissions or requests for hard copies of the discussion documents should be emailed or posted to: Email: Pest Management Consultation Readiness and Response Policy Group Biosecurity, Food and Animal Welfare Policy Directorate Ministry for Primary Industries PO Box 2526 Wellington 6140.

Public input into pest control

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Solution lies in soil If soil fertiliser requirements were just about putting soil test numbers into a spread sheet, which spat out a nutrient recommendation which was both effective and efficient, life would be very much simpler. There would be little if any discussion on the merits of different products, whether liquid fertilisers replaced solids or are best used in combination, or whether the cheapest form of nutrient provides better value than a higher priced product. What is not up for debate is the fact that in areas with intensive dairying the levels of nitrate nitrogen in ground water, streams, and rivers, is steadily increasing and in many instances is now well above acceptable levels. It is also a fact that the water available for irrigation in New Zealand has already been over-allocated and if everyone used their full allocation, a major and rapid overhaul of the system would be required. And the fault lies with no one individual or group. It’s just what happens when there is rapid growth of any industry. It’s not been possible to foresee the full environmental consequences of rapid intensification of land use, but the results are now being measured. There are solutions that can be implemented with significant benefits for all parties. There doesn’t have to be a trade off with someone losing for someone else to win. The solution lies with the soil. The present disregard of soil quality, by the farming industry at large, means that there is the ability to both grow greater volume of crops and pasture with a few sound fundamental changes. With increased volume comes improved quality, that’s just the way natural systems work. Healthy fruit trees always produce more fruit that taste better and have greater nutritional quality, and that’s the same for all crops including pasture. So if lower quality means less is actually growing, how then is the sale of nitrogen fertiliser rationalised? The reality, in our view, is that when pasture growth over 12 months is driven by regular applications of fertiliser, total nitrogen growth declines. It declines because when nitrogen fertiliser is over-used – any use other than a little strategically in late autumn and winter (the periods when clover is largely dormant) is overuse – the humus content of the soil declines. Humus is the ‘glue’ that holds soil together and stores both moisture and nutrient, including nitrogen for plant use. And with less humus pasture, growth becomes even less and total growth steadily declines. Here’s a couple of ways to start the restorative process that will result in more production during the next 12 months. Where magnesium fertiliser is a requirement apply 200 – 250kg/ha of Golden Bay Dolomite any time before calving. This will ensure fewer calcium/magnesium related metabolic disorders around calving and higher per cow levels of production. As dolomite is also a proven soil conditioner, excess moisture will drain more freely. Drier soils warm more quickly as sunlight hours increase, which encourages early growth. The energy content of the plant lifts, and a better balance of carbohydrate and protein is achieved, resulting in firmer dung, cleaner cows, and less weight loss after calving. When applying nitrogen during autumn and winter reduce the amount of each application by 20 per cent. With deeper rooting pastures, healthier cows, higher milk-solid production, and lower costs, the coming season can be one to genuinely look forward to.

Nitrogen won’t start grass growth In the cold of winter, when feed is short, it’s tempting to throw on a bit of nitrogen to make the grass grow.

However, unless conditions are suitable for grass growth, it will be money wasted as nitrogen is a growth accelerator, says Balance Agri-nutrients research and development manager Warwick Catto. “Nitrogen will not start grass growth, it will only boost growth that is already occurring. Soil temperature, soil moisture, and soil structure must all support growth if nitrogen fertiliser is going to have any real benefit,” says Warwick. “For late winter use, wait until soil temperatures exceed 5 degree Celsius before considering nitrogen fertiliser, and allow six weeks for the pasture to respond.”

He advises against applying nitrogen fertiliser to water-logged soils or when heavy rains are due. If the soil is saturated, the grass will not be growing. And, if a lot of rain is expected, the nitrogen fertiliser can simply be washed away through leaching. “It is also important to remember that more is not necessarily better when it comes to nitrogen applications. “For pasture, 30 kg N/ha is normally a suitable rate to apply, especially where growth rates are low. “Winter is also when nitrate leaching becomes a concern.” Most of the nitrate in the soil has come not from fertiliser applications, but from animal urine, so stock management practices play an important part in minimising leaching. Restricted or on-off grazing, using

feed pads and wintering barns will all help to reduce the nitrogen loading on the soil, and so help reduce nitrate leaching.” Having a nutrient management plan in place, as part of good agricultural practice, is one of the best things a farmer can do to understand where the losses come from and options to manage that nitrogen loss. This includes rates and timing of nitrogen, spelling intervals, on-off grazing strategy and how that influences nitrogen loss, Warwick says. While farms probably won’t be able to use the DCD nitrogen inhibitor this coming spring, Warwick says DCD is just one of the tools in the toolbox for managing nitrogen losses, and through investment in research and development, the company is exploring further mitigation tools.

What conventional soil chemists fail to address This first instalment in a series of articles, on soil basics, is dedicated to the late Dan Skow, founder of International Ag Labs in the USA. Soil is a marvellous and complex part of creation. Soil has been meticulously studied and written about from many perspectives. Beginning in the 1850s Russian scientists began to classify soils, based on their various properties including geological origins. By 1900 American scientists were significantly adding to the knowledge of soil science. From the 1920s-1950s Russian research on soil microbi-

ology was at its pinnacle. With the honourable exception of Dr William Albrecht, American research and universities began focusing more on cultural practices that would profit agribusiness rather than raising the nutritional standard of the foods being produced.


Three notable pioneers Dr Charles Northern, Dr Carey Reams, and Albert Carter Savage, all working in the private sector, were greatly alarmed at the precipitous decline in the nutrient density of our foods, and the disconnect between soil science and food quality. Each individual made significant contributions in defining a new type of soil. In contrast to classical soil sci-

ence that observes mid-to-late 1800s, soil properties in demonstrated order to name and the effectiveness classify it, these of adding finely three men looked at ground stone meal soil with a differas a soil amendent goal – to craft ment and fertilizer. it into a soil that His work has been produced therarecorded in his peutic food fully book ‘Bread from capable of rebuildStones’. ing human health. This book deeply While others clasinfluenced the sified existing soils, whole life-focus The late Dan Skow. these three men of Albert Carter created an optimum Savage. soil that I will refer to as minerAdditionally, Hensel's section alized soil. on the benefits of stone meal on Before looking at the properplants became the foundation ties of mineralized soil it is that Dr Reams used to develop important to acknowledge the his concept of brix and nutrient supporting role of two other density. scientists, who both made sigThe other individual who nificant contributions. made significant contribution to the concept of mineralized soil was Dr William Albrecht. Mineralization The first is Julius Hensel. He is Albrecht proved over and over the supreme role calcium played. widely considered as the father His work influenced Albert of the soil mineralization moveCarter Savage and he had regular ment. interaction with Dr Reams. His work in Germany, in the

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Lice costs industry millions annually Lice infestation is of major economic importance – costing tens of millions of dollars annually. Infested sheep become restless, with scratching and rubbing, resulting in reduced weight gain, damage to the fleece (up to 24 per cent reduction in value) and an increased likelihood of flystrike. Adult lice (Bovicola ovis) are very small (1 - 1.5mm long) and move along wool fibres feeding on wool grease and skin debris – in bright light they remain very close to the skin. Eggs are laid on wool fibres, then hatch and complete three nymph stages within two to five weeks, before maturing into adult lice. The entire life cycle occurs on the sheep and takes about five weeks. Lice numbers start to build up in autumn, peaking in winter/ spring, and drop away toward summer. Lice only leave the sheep when they come into close contact with other sheep, so normally spread slowly within a flock, except when sheep are in poor condition. Total lice eradication is possible – but it is more feasible to aim to prevent new infestations and minimise the impact of any existing lice. Shearing can remove up to 80 per cent of lice, after which timing of

chemical treatment ‘dipping’ is crucial. There are four main groups of ‘dips’: Insect Growth Regulators (IGR), Synthetic Pyrethroids (SP), Organophosphates (OP) and Spinosad. It is critical to choose the most appropriate product and method for your property and situation, and apply it according to the label. • Full Saturation: concentrated products are diluted with water then applied either by plunge (full submersion) or highvolume/high-pressure shower dipping. The optimum time is two to six weeks off-shears, when shearing cuts have healed and there is sufficient wool and grease to ‘hold’ the chemical. Any later fleeces will be very difficult to soak to skin level. • Pour On: ready-to-use (un-diluted) products are applied through a pour-on gun, usually with a ‘T Bar’ nozzle. Most effective when applied immediately off-shears.

• Jetting: Using concentrates diluted with water is only effective if it achieves saturation, so is most applicable to hand jetting. The critical aspect is getting the correct amount, of the right chemical, applied at the correct concentration onto the sheep’s skin and wool to ensure the lice are in contact with a lethal dose. Wool length is a major barrier to lice treatments. If it is too long there will be under-dosing. Treat all sheep on the property to prevent cross contamination. Contact with the neighbours’ lousy sheep will undermine your control programme. Ideally, ‘quarantine dip’ all sheep brought on to the property and routinely check sheep for lice every summer and/or autumn, just before shearing.

Teat conditioner natural oils aid healing While getting ready for calving, and a new milking season, many farmers won’t be relishing the thought of yet another round of treating sore and cracked teats, dry scaly udders or udder sores that are difficult to heal – not to mention the number of cups that will be kicked off.



Couple these problems with first calving heifers and their new milking experiences, and some farmers will be sending up quiet requests for a new product to help with all of these factors. Now there is one – and it’s a first to be registered under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 (ACVA registered and approved by MPI). Natural Teat Conditioner is, therefore, a Registered Veterinary Medicine No. A010737. Not only that, but it’s BioGro-certified too, which will bring joy to the hearts of all organic dairy farmers. Known as Natural Teat Conditioner, it has been developed by Homeopathic Farm Support Ltd, and has been put through the rigours of a two-year registration and testing process. Plus, all its components are made here in New Zealand. They consist of emulsified fish oil, tea tree oil, homeopathic graphites and vegetable-derived pharmacopeia grade glycerine. Tea tree oil has been reported to contain antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. The final product comes in 10 litre con-

tainers, and is designed to be diluted 1:9 with water, making 100 litres. Sprayed onto teats after each milking, the product shows up white to assist milkers to ensure adequate cover. Rigorous testing has proved that it not only heals, soothes and lubricates, but has absolutely no effect on milk produced. With a shelf life of at least six months, when kept cool (not refrigerated) and out of sunlight, each 10 litre container will provide spray for a very large number of teats. In blind trials done in 2011 on six farms between South Auckland and Southland, it was used for an average of a month on 1278 lactating cows, and the results and comments from trialists were hugely positive. All stated that udder appearance and skin suppleness improved and cracking was reduced. For some, udder redness was reduced, and cows had less obvious pain on handling, resulting in a huge reduction in cups being kicked off. In one case, udder sores which had not healed despite the use of two different products prior to the trial, were said to have cleared up in four days. There were also favourable comments from the milkers that the tea tree aroma of the spray was pleasant to work with.While similar products are available and used overseas, Natural Teat Conditioner is the only one made in New Zealand which has gained these important registrations.

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From the woods to the Forester Finding the right car can be a bit like looking for your favourite ewe in the flock. They look much the same and have similar features, but you need to get up close to notice their differences…

With the growth in the SUV market, there have been a lot of 2WD pretenders to the throne of rugged reliability. But that is exactly where the Forester sticks its head out. Despite a long list of changes to the latest fourth generation Forester, the one thing that has not been touched is its use of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system. The integrated AWD system makes it one of the few compact SUV’s to have genuine permanently constant four-wheel-driving for added control and safety. Since the first Forester was released 16 years ago, the badge has become renowned for its suitability for active outdoorsy types. Fisherman, hunter, netballer, skier, footballer, or picnic lover – whatever your outdoor interest, Subaru’s new 2013 Forester model remains

easy as a walk in the park. No need for any adjustments in settings, just drive on and the Forester does it for you. Safety is paramount throughout the Forester, and nowhere is this more evident than with the premium models’ ‘Eyesight Technology’, which detects hazards and can intervene with braking if the system’s alerts are ignored. Two cameras, at the top of the windscreen, scan the road for dangers, with the system alerting the driver with audible and visual warnings. The system will intervene, braking the car, if action is not taken by the driver to avoid danger. But any intervention is overridden as soon as the driver responds. As Darrel explains, it is not an autopilot system but it helps you notice everything, particularly if you are distracted or in a busy environment. Back behind the wheel you can clearly feel the system working with the car braking, when closely approaching cars from behind or the system’s alerts when you mistakenly start to cross the white lane line. All in all I’m highly impressed by the Forester – it would be top of my list if I was shopping for either an SUV or an AWD vehicle. Many other reviewers have said the same, with Sydney’s ‘Carsguide’ just last month rating the Forester ahead of the crop of new medium SUVs. By Hamish Carter

from the A-pillars to the doors. An uncluttered and easily navigable dash with your major controls, including cruise adjustable, directly from the steering wheel, makes for an easier driver experience while a flick of a switch boosts driver comfort with the heated seats. The new Forester offers all you expect from the badge plus more - with advances and upgrades across the board. Major improvements include, fuel efficiency (up from 9.5 litres per 100km in the last model, to 8.1 litres). And safety receives even more attention (earning the top 5-star ANCAP safety rating). The new model has a bold new shape – with a boxier nose, a smart honeycomb grille and reshaped bumpers. When we arrived the park was free of its many weekend visitors who head to the Western Bay gem for kayaking, fishing, bushwalks and other outdoors attractions, but retained its magical feel with its autumn colours and fallen leaves. Park ranger Gary Borman believes autumn is one of the best times to see the park, with its wash of colour. After catching up with Gary, we followed the tracks around the park – continuing to be impressed by the Forester’s long list of great features. In the highly competitive SUV category, most of the latest models offer reasonably similar features, making it difficult to clearly differentiate one model from the next – but with the Forester it was the car’s intuition that left the best impression on me. It is one thing to have all the latest gizmos and safety sensor features, but the best car for me will always be the one that can respond to the conditions automatically to offer the best performance. That is where the Forester comes into its own league. The AWD system looks after itself – making any journey beyond the tar seal as

true to its reputation as just the vehicle to get you there. But, as Farmer Auto Village’s Subaru specialist Darrel Nicholson told me when I collected it for the review, it also offers great appeal as an all-round family car for mum or dad. With autumn looking its best at McLaren Falls, the Rural Driver team headed out towards the Kaimai Range park for the photo shoot, putting the Forester through its paces along the way. From the suburban streets, where it had earlier shown great traction control during a torrential downpour, we were impressed by a range of the Forester’s features including the unbridled power, surging ahead on the hill climbs. Turning onto the windy McLaren Falls Rd, then meandering through the park tracks, the All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system and traction control came into its own – with the Forester sticking to the road like glue. On release Subaru New Zealand’s managing director Wallis Dumper proudly proclaimed the Forester was “better and more rugged than the previous models”. “It’s a true four wheel drive SUV, rather than one of the increasing number of front wheel drive wannabes.” Judging by how well it handled the foray through the park, it lends credence to his claim that the Forester is a vehicle that could have been designed specifically for “the Kiwi lifestyle – its all-road, allconditions, all-seasons”. Back inside, the cabin offers the perfect driving environment – with the windscreen’s open view, while forward vision has also been improved by repositioning the side mirrors

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Off road red tape removed Federated Farmers is welcoming a change to road user charging that exempts light vehicles that are used almost exclusively off-road. Transport spokesman Ian Mackenzie said the organisation’s work lobbying for the change had paid off, with primary producers expected to be the main beneficiaries. “While ending the exemption may seem like a small change, it potentially had big implications,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Transport spokesperson. The exemption, which applies to diesel

vehicles of less than 3500kg, comes into force on June 6, replacing the existing exemption for light diesel vehicles when used for agricultural purposes that was due to lapse on 30 June. Ian says the change avoids the need for vehicle owners to go through a “complex and cumbersome refund process” for the off-road portion. Otherwise, they would have had to pay road user charges for all use then apply for a refund for off-road use. “Imagine the (IRD) staff needed to untangle the red-tape involving thousands of such claims. Exempted vehicles may only be driven on public roads within 10km of the nearest boundary of the property where it is usually kept.

Super proud V8 grandma

Proud Bayfair grandmother Pete Scott has been following her grandson Scott McLaughlin’s rise in motorsport from since he was seven to his recent success claiming the Pukekohe V8 Supercar title. Photo by Tracy Hardy.

Bayfair’s Pete Scott thought it was almost too good to be true watching the V8 Supercar championships in Pukekohe.

the BNT V8 Super Tourers series in New Zealand, even this proud grandma is not getting ahead of herself. “It’s just one race and as we all know things can change dramatically, but hopefully it’s a good sign.” Knowing how team management limits family access to drivers so they stay focused, Pete had decided to watch the event from the comfort of her armchair. But she was looking forward to seeing him live in Pukekohe at the round three of the BNT V8 Super Tourers on May 25-26. “He did show great promise when he was young. I remember he won the North Island karting championships when he was eight or nine for the cadet class (under 12s).” Scott started racing karts aged about seven in Hamilton, but

“I’m always nervous when he’s racing and during that last lap I kept thinking something was going to happen,” recalls Pete, who watched grandson Scott McLaughlin, 19, take the chequered flag in April on TV at home with her son and daughter-in-law. Scott created history becoming the youngest driver to win a V8 Supercars race. “It was so exciting, it’s a dream come true for Scott. Since word go he’s always wanted to win the V8 supercars, but none of us expected it so soon,” says Pete. After the race they had a celebratory drink, but following mixed results in the first two rounds of

regularly raced in Te Puke – the former home track for kartloving parents Diane and Wayne McLaughlin when they earlier lived at the Mount. After solid progress in karting in his early years Scott went on to go compete in Australia after his family shifted to the Gold Coast 10 years ago to run a trucking business. Pete rates Scott’s fifth placing at the World Karting Championships against 72 other junior drivers in 2008, as a previous career highpoint. Scott is now based in Melbourne with the GRM Holden team, has had reasonable success so far this Australian season – including finishing in the top 10 in all five races over the previous two meetings in Adelaide and Tasmania, as well as winning an exhibition race held during the Melbourne By Hamish Carter Grand Prix.

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Safe access to park thanks to new bridge Horse floats and council vehicles can now safely use the Te Haura Park bridge.

When the existing bridge at Te Haura Park in Hamilton was no longer suitable for the loads it was carrying, Bridge It NZ was contracted to replace it so that cars and horse floats could get safe access to the entire park. “We install a wide range of new bridges for different customers, including bridges like this one that are safe for kids, fitted with non-climbable hand rails,” says Pat Seuren of Bridge It.


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Increasingly, bridges built in public areas are being fitted with vertical railing to discourage children from climbing up. Hamilton City Council and the public were delighted with the final finished bridge, says Pat. Bridge It NZ’s core business is building new bridges but it also repairs and upgrades old bridges. Pat prides himself in being able to offer a complete solution for any customer wanting a new bridge. “We provide a complete design and build, fully engineered, ‘turn-key’ solution for our customers including managing all

the necessary building and resource consents.” The company’s engineering partner Tiaki Engineering Consultants Ltd, carries out an initial site visit and investigation, including geotechnical and survey data collection, and it reviews the proposed project with the client and makes recommendations. Bridge It NZ provides a total package that includes client consultation, engineering design, building consent applications, resource consent applications; and manages approvals by other affected parties.

Friendly, relaxed club welcomes new members Joining Rotary is an excellent way for newcomers to a district to meet likeminded people and contribute to the community, says Richard Gee, president of the Tuakau Rotary Club. “Tuakau Rotary is a friendly, relaxed club and members decide on the level of commitment they can make. We have farmers among our members and

understand there are times during the season when they can’t be as involved,” says Richard. “But on the other hand, Rotary is a great opportunity for them to take a break from farming and share a meal or an evening with a positive, diverse group of people.” The club was founded in 1965 and while some of the original members still belong, the age group is mixed and women Tuakau Rotary Club’s ‘road toll’ raises around are Rotarians too. “We $5000 for the local community. meet each week and ask our Rotarians to share stories of the successes they have had in the construction of a St John’s Ambulance past seven days, and often have a guest station in Tuakua; and every month it speaker. Once a month we have a pot operates a car boot sale which brings luck dinner at the member’s home people into town on a Saturday mornwhich is also enjoyable.” ing. Richard says gone are the days when “Every so often we have a charity Rotarians laid concrete footpaths road toll when we stop drivers on the or built playgrounds. “We have got main road and ask them for a donasmarter and use our knowledge, skills tion, and that usually raises about and contacts to raise funds to have $5000 which we can then use to assist these projects carried out.” local organisations.” However, at this time of year club Rotary offers an excellent opportumembers do split and deliver free firenity to network, for personal growth wood to needy families, thanks to the and leadership; and membership of a support of a local saw mill. Rotary club in New Zealand means In June, the club is organising a char- being welcome at Rotary clubs anyity dinner to raise funds towards the where in the world.



Page 41


Glamour final for Ag Art Wear This year’s Ag Art Wear competition reaches its finale at the extravagant Fieldays ‘Rural to Runway’ gala dinner on Friday, June 14 at The Atrium, Wintec House, Hamilton. Billed as a spectacle of creative fashion flair, the evening will show case entrants’ designs as they compete to win a share of

$12,000 worth of prizes. Competing in three categories; Avant Garde, Designer Traditional and the newly created Classroom Couture category, designers are limited to creating artistic garments using materials sourced from the farm, rural industries or the natural environment. With entrants from New Zealand and Australia there will be a real battle on the runway, which will be judged by a panel of local

One cleaner for many tasks has farmer appeal A product made from orange peel which cleans the shower, the ute or the calf feeder - and more - has a committed following among farmers, says Sheree Hayward of Citrus Based Cleaner Ltd. “Farmers like our product because they can order it as a concentrate, have it delivered right to their door, and then dilute it to use in the home, on vehicles and in the cowshed.” Called ‘citrus based cleaner’, it is a versatile biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning product which can be safely used for a wide range of applications, and unlike some cleaners, is compatible with septic tanks. “Each order of concentrate comes with a spray bottle with instructions for dilution rates and use. Buying as a concentrate makes it very economical but ready-to-use diluted spray bottles of the cleaner are also available.” Citrus based cleaner is non-hazardous and non-flammable, made in Christchurch and based on a natural solvent from orange peel called d-limonene which helps with the

degreasing performance of the organicallybased product. It contains two complimentary organic chelating agents to allow the product to cope with the hardest water. “Citrus based cleaner is perhaps the only eco-friendly cleaning product you need in your home or businesses. It has produced outstanding results throughout a variety of commercial and industrial environments and on specific tough cleaning jobs,” says Sheree. The cleaner is also ideal for cleaning surfaces before painting. It will remove dirt, grease and dust and is silicone-free, so once the surface is wiped down with citrus based cleaner it can be painted straight away. Sheree says the cleaner is also great for vehicles. “Put a capful of concentrate into a bucket then fill with water. Wash over the vehicle and then rinse off. Dry with a dry towel or shammy. It’s great for removing brake dust from your alloys, and the bugs on your headlights, which can otherwise be hard to remove.” Established in 1996, Citrus Based Cleaner Ltd is based in Christchurch but sends its products nationwide and overseas.

design elite. With tickets for the Rural to Runway Gala Dinner and Awards Show now on sale, it’s time to gather friends and book yourselves in to ensure you don’t miss out on enjoying one of Hamilton’s hottest events on the social calendar. To book tickets or for further information contact: Mystery Creek Events Centre: phone 07 843 4497 or email: info@

Page 42


All humates not the same Thief steals freshly As humates are becoming more widely known about, accepted and used in the agriculture and horticulture sector within New Zealand, it is perhaps timely to clarify just exactly what the individual definitions of humates actually mean.

and transferring them to the living organism. Fulvic acid is unique in its chelation ability, as it captures life-essential minerals and places an electrical charge on them for ready uptake by the organism. Toxic metals are also chelated, but are neutrally charged and have difficulty in entering a living organism. Fulvic acids also act to detoxify the body of those heavy metals that may enter it. Humin is that portion of the humic Technically, humate is the term material that is non-soluble apart from which describes the salts of humic through microbial activity. acid. It is a dark brown material, extremely Generically it is the term given high in molecular weight and is to all humic substances. Humate is responsible for the soil’s water-holding a product that is found in a seam capability, crumble and electrostatic situated directly above lignite or conductivity. leonardite coal. It is comprised of Humic substance is the portion of the rich humic and fulvic acids, which soil created by decaying organic matter. have been proven to improve the Humates may contain up to 69 per growth and root development in cent organic carbon in their own right, plants and to foster the developbut their carbon-building capacity is ment of beneficial microbial species. largely based on their bio-stimulating Humic acid is a long chain molcapacity. ecule, which is high in molecular An activated, thriving, microbial popweight, dark brown and is soluble ulation can convert stubble and crop in an alkali solution. This is the residues to organic carbon (humus) at a portion of the soil responsible for much faster rate. composting; and it transfers the nutrient from the soil to the living Dave Whitteker, sales manager The faster you can convert plant of NZ Humates Ltd. matter to humus, the higher your organism. This material accompaorganic carbon gains. nies the nutrient into the organism Remember, not all humates are the same. We at New and performs many benefits. Fulvic acid is a short chain molecule, which has a low Zealand Humates recognise this fact, and therefore molecular weight, yellow in colour and soluble in both only supply the very highest quality, locally-sourced humate available from within New Zealand. acid and alkali. This is the portion of the soil responBy Dave Whitteker, NZ Humates Ltd. sible for chelating (grabbing hold of metals) minerals

painted gate Hamish Stout was astounded to be called at about midnight recently by police to say someone had stolen the front gate to his Kaimai farm. “They’d loaded the 12 foot gate on a ute and driven off with it, but one of the neighbours had seen the ute and taken down the number plate and called the police,” Hamish told the Bay of Plenty branch of Federated Farmers’ May conference. “The gate was about 27 years old and freshly painted because my wife asked me to make it look good for the family at Christmas.” Less than an hour after the first call, police rang back to say they had apprehended the alleged offender and would Hamish like to retrieve his gate. “The person was convicted and fined $400,” Hamish says. The conference was discussing issues of rural security, stock rustling in particular, and Rick Powdrell, chairman of the meat and fibre committee said Hamish’s experience was an excel-

lent example of how communities could help catch criminals. “The neighbour got the registration number, called police and police acted quickly to solve the crime,” he said. “Sometimes people are reluctant to call police because they think they won’t be interested or don’t have the time to follow up, but they do want information as it can often help solve bigger crimes.” The recent case of Matamata deer rustlers, believed to be responsible for the theft of up to $100,000 worth of animals, was solved partly due to reports of license plates of suspicious vehicles given to police, he says. “Rural security and stock rustling have both been issues that members of the provincial executive have been working closely with police to minimise, through regular meetings, information sharing and use of communication lines. “The police are to be commended for their efforts in the rural areas with a number of offenders arrested and on-going work with communities, to jointly address unlawful activity,” he told the meeting.

Divine confusion

One Sunday morning the Vicar noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names and small New Zealand flags mounted on either side of it. The six-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the Vicar walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly: “Good morning, Alex”. “Good morning. Vicar,” he replied, still focused on the plaque. “Vicar, what is this?” The Vicar replied: “Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service”. Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear asked “Which service, the 8.30 or the 10am?”

Page 43


NAIT enforcement soon for some Action could soon be taken against some farmers who disregard their obligations under the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme, NAIT operations manager Tony Corcoran told the Bay of Plenty branch of Federated Farmers’ conference in May. The model was for the scheme to, at first, be voluntary with assistance. Then farmers would be directed to comply and the final step was enforcement. “I can’t give a time frame but for some, enforcement may be sooner rather than later. Framers need to take this seriously,” he said. Overall the transition to the new scheme had exceeded expectations. “We are really pleased at how well the first 10 months have gone. Farmers have taken on the message about what they have got to do and know how to comply.”


Stock and station agents and livestock companies had generally done an outstanding job of complying. So far 60,000 people had registered as people in charge of animals, known as Picas, Tony said.

Tony said another indication of the scheme’s early success was a reduction in the costs of NAIT tags which made it easier for farmers to be compliant. There were still some issues to be sorted out but NAIT had a call centre and representatives in the field available to help farmers and they’d be at the Fieldays too. Some of the issues related to IT problems and the ability of the LIC programme MINDA to communicate with the NAIT system. All were being addressed.

Technical issues

Some farmers at the meeting said they were frustrated by emails informing them of movements of animals they had sold, or with an inability to ‘de-register’ tag numbers issued (before NAIT became compulsory) which were still recorded against their name. Tony advised them to seek help through the call centre or from a NAIT representative. Under the NAIT scheme, farmers must register their tagged cattle and deer, record any off-farm movements and confirm in the NAIT system when they receive cattle or deer onto their property. This includes dairy animals moving to grazing. The NAIT scheme relates to commercial farmers as well as lifestylers if they have cattle or deer. It has been designed to provide traceability of individual cattle and deer to enhance New Zealand’s ability to respond quickly to a food safety scare or a Bio-security threat, and give added confidence to trading partners.

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becoming a fulltime artist didn’t figure in her thinking until the rocks with glass mosaics started to sell. “I had done a tile mosaic course while I was recovering but didn’t really enjoy it. However, working with glass is something else.” From simple designs on rocks, Jan experimented with a variety of themes from balls, to egg-shapes, to outdoor plaques and then to more intricate indoor and outdoor framed artworks. With no one else in New Zealand doing the same kind of work, Jan taught herself the techniques of working with glass, researching the best cutting tools and sources of glass. She also makes her own wooden frames, often from recycled timber.


Her art career really took off when she won a Bronze Award at the Auckland Ellerslie Flower Show, and she has since won a Best Site Award at the Mys-


tery Creek Fieldays, where she will again have a stand this year. Jan’s art is also on sale at the Te Aroha’s “Taxi on Eleven Gallery”, and at A&P Shows and art shows. Working with glass has its challenges, not the least of which is cut fingers. “Bandaids are always on hand in the workshop, but you quickly learn to be careful.” The glass Jan uses is nearly always new, much of it imported. “Old glass is lovely but glass is semiliquid and moving, albeit very slowly, so over time it becomes brittle, often thicker at one end than the other, and it shrinks.”



Jan has some of her new glass mirrored, creating stunning effects such as in the Rock & Roll picture, largely in black and white, with iridescent highlights streaming down on the silhouetted dancing figures. Unlike many artists, Jan doesn’t stick to one theme or style. Her work extends from the very commercial “man cave” and “woman cave” signs, to quirky cow plaques and cartoon-themed rural scenes, to native birds set in elegant mirrors, or classical styles like the Mediterranean Village picture with its pristine white houses and bright fishing boat. “I enjoy the challenge of trying something different. For instance, it took me ages to figure out how to cut circles in glass for tractor or bike tyres.” Jan also accepts commissions, and often has more than one artwork underway at once.

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No.8 approach to art Acclaimed New Zealand sculptor, John Edgar will judge the 2013 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award. The annual award, now in its seventh year is hosted by ArtsPost and sponsored by NZ Agricultural Fieldays.

ubiquitous man-made material in New Zealand, and since early colonial days it has played a huge role in both town and country,” he says. “I am never without a supply in my sculpture workshop; it comes in handy for so many jobs. I am sure it is at the very heart of New Zealanders’ do-ityourself attitude and our ability to fix anything.”


Waikato museum director Cherie Meecham says John Edgar is familiar with the challenge of working with a single medium, a requirement for the award as each entry must comprise at least 75 per cent of No.8 wire.

Complex material

Lloyd Downing, Fieldays Society president will again choose his personal favourite for the President’s Choice Award, to be presented along with the major winners at a gala evening opening on Thursday, June 6 before the exhibition opens from June 7 until July 15 at ArtsPost Galleries & Shop on Victoria, St, Hamilton. Whanganui design student, Max Deutscle won first place in the 2012 Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award with his entry ‘The Hollow Tiki’.

“We’re privileged to have John Edgar curating and judging the award. John brings a vast wealth of experience and understanding to the role and his active interest in sculpting and forming challenging materials gives him an inherent understanding of the complexities and the potential in working with No.8 wire,” she says. John admits to a certain fondness for the practical potential of No.8 wire and the role it continues to play in everyday life. “No.8 wire is perhaps the most

John has been exhibiting his work in solo exhibitions since 1979 in New Zealand and Australia as well as several group shows. He has been included in several curated exhibitions, which have toured nationwide, and is represented in several public and private collections in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. In 2004, John installed a major commission at the Auckland Domain titled ‘Transformer’ and in 2009 he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contribution to the arts, in particular sculpture. “The entrants to this award continue to inspire and delight us with their imaginative use of No.8 wire and each year we see more entries from throughout New Zealand, with everyone a study in creativity and quality,” says Jacqui Cooper, events coordinator at NZ National Agricultural Fieldays.

Max Deutscle and the winning ‘Hollow Tiki’ .

Waitoa ideal place for artist have discovered glass art, and my art has provided me with not only an interest I really enjoy, but also an income.” Waitoa, she says, is the ideal place to be an artist. “It’s very central to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, and many of my clients are happy to come for a drive in the country to visit me. Real estate is much cheaper in the rural areas Examples of Jan Shoemark’s glass art. “If I get stumped on something, or need more glass, or just have a day when I can’t concentrate so well, I can switch what I’m doing.”


She has never fully recovered from her injuries and medical misadventure, and is awaiting further surgery. Jan’s strong Christian faith inspires her to stay positive and make the most of her life. “There’s a positive to everything. If I hadn’t had that accident, I wouldn’t

than the cities and I have wonderful neighbours who look out for me. It’s also a safe community to live in.” To find out more details visit By Elaine Fisher




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Page 46

Weather eye on Fieldays NIWA is the official weather forecaster for the Fieldays and for all major Mystery Creek events taking place during the next three years. The company’s chief scientist of atmosphere, Dr Murray Poulter, says that sophisticated computer forecasting models will generate weather forecasts for Mystery Creek up to six days ahead. To accompany the forecasts, a weather station has been set up at Mystery Creek, which will feed live observations of current temperature, wind speed and direction, and rainfall

to display screens across the complex and to NIWA’s Fieldays exhibition site. “Visitors to Fieldays will know well in advance whether they need to have tee shirts and sunhats or sweaters and raincoats – or one of everything – at the ready. “Once we’ve received six weeks of observational data from the weather station we will know the microclimate of the site, and that will help to provide a much more accurate two-day forecast,” says Murray. “We also welcome farmers along to our Fieldays site PF15 to trial our specialised weather forecasting services.”

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Mike is welcoming the launch this autumn of the Zoetis Vet Advisor Series, aimed at developing the skills of younger vets so they can help advise farmers wanting to boost farm profitability. The move has the support of Beef + Lamb NZ, NZ Veterinary Association and Massey University veterinary school. Aimed at vets in sheep and beef practices, the series of four two-day modules will link vets’ knowledge of animal health to a better understanding of whole farm production and profitability. Created and sponsored by Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health), the series covers all aspects of farm business, genetics and animal production; and will be presented by some leading names in the New Zealand sheep and beef industry.

Bigger picture

“At this year’s sheep veterinary congress, I urged vets to get closer to their farmer clients’ business, understand the whole farm picture and take their huge knowledge of animal health, and get best practice adopted more widely across more farms,” says Mike. While vets often end up being the “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff ” he wants vets involved in decisions that mean the ambulance will not be necessary. That means having the skills and confidence to discuss farm production and outcomes around the table with other experts whom farmers increasingly rely on, including farm advisors and bankers. Mike has made a point of including a vet as a consultant on farms he is involved in, putting their expertise around the table with the farm banker and advisor – essentially linking animal health to the health of the farm business.

animal health aspects like mastitis,” says Ginny. Instead, she saw the real benefits to sheep and beef farmers coming from vets understanding feed systems, which are inherently linked to animal health and production. Ginny believes young vets would welcome the opportunity to have a series of practical modules linking farm business and animal health. Mike sees the programme fitting well with the objectives of the Red Meat Sector Strategy report. Released in 2011, it emphasised the need for farmers to lift “behind the gate” performance on farms, through better uptake of improved genetics, business skills and practices. “Even lifting the ‘average’ farmer’s performance into the top 20 per cent would lift that farm’s profitability by 134 per cent,” he said.

Expert knowledge

Input to the programme has come from some of the most experienced, respected animal production experts in New Zealand. They include professor Paul Kenyon of Massey University, and Zoetis’ own veterinary advisor – well known sheep production expert Dr Clive Bingham. Paul sees the programme as an opportunity to “train the trainers” by taking advantage of the unique oneto-one relationship vets often share with their farming clients. “Vets are already in a trusted position, and are able to bring more information to their farmers who are struggling to keep up with the huge amount of information out there now.” Zoetis vet operations manager Victoria Chapman says Zoetis is taking the lead in this area, “as we recognised a need within the industry for this, as there is currently no such programme available in New Zealand. This is another way Zoetis can support the sheep and beef industry”.

Manawatu production vet Ginny Dodunski of Totally Vets in Fielding, says the course offers the opportunity for vets to be involved in injecting positive, profitable change into their clients’ farm business. “Often for sheep and beef farmers, the opportunities at present can be limited to tinkering around the edges of animal health, compared to dairying, where major profit shifts can come by improving



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Page 47



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Diversification may solve over-capacity Encouraging the growth of other sectors, such as goat and deer, to take advantage of over-capacity in abattoirs would ensure sheep and beef farmers had the ability to cull stock during adverse weather events such as the recent drought, says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chairperson. She told the Bay of Plenty branch of Federated Farmers conference in May that farmers could face a situation of “use it or lose it” when it comes to processing capacity. “No one complained about over-capacity during the recent drought. We need to balance the leger on both sides and get more diversity. Why not grow the goat and deer industry to make plants more viable?”

stock to, Jeanette said loyalty often out-weighed price. Preliminary results from a survey of farmers showed price came behind loyalty to the company, and respect for the person farmers dealt with.


“Loyalty is especially strong in the South Island and not so strong the further north you go in the North Island, where there is more choice.”

Joint opportunity

Europe remains New Zealand’s highestpaying meat market with China the best by volume – but opportunities also exist in Indonesia and Malaysia where there are growing wealthy middle classes. “I see potential to put money into joint ventures in these areas to further process meat sent from New Zealand as is done in Europe. “It’s a lot closer to home for shipping and their populations know sheep and goat products. We need to decide where we want to grow our markets. We need to grow, not down-size. There are whopping good opportunities to go forward.” Jeanette said it is also time to take a more holistic approach to farming in New Zealand. “Even arable farmers are part of pastoral farming and we need to look at how each sector can work together.” When it came to which company farmers supplied

It also didn’t appear to matter to farmers whether the company was a co-operative or a corporate. However, it was important that farmers were rewarded for their loyalty. “It needs to be remembered corporates will pay just enough to keep you in the game. All companies need to be honest in their communication with farmers,” she said. By Elaine Fisher


Chef cooking up Kiwi’s best Celebrity chef Josh Emett will be cooking New Zealand’s best foods at Fieldays.

Kiwi’s Best Kitchen at Fieldays is designed to showcase quality New Zealand food and beverages by providing visitors with a unique Kiwi cooking and kitchen experience. Located in the busy Rural Living area, the specially designed Kiwi's Best Kitchen marquee features the Kitchen Theatre with grandstand seating, where visitors can enjoy

cooking demonstrations hosted by the celebrity chef Josh Emett and other guests. Josh discovered cooking and a love of food at a young age and trained at Waikato Polytechnic (now WINTEC) in Hamilton, before heading to work overseas to follow his passion for food. After working with Gordon Ramsay for 11 years, including time in London, New York and Melbourne, Josh appeared on Masterchef Australia as a celebrity chef and has been a full time judge on Masterchef New Zealand since the second series. Josh opened his own restaurant called Rata, in Queenstown in May 2012, and has launched Chefs Series, a retail food range of slow-cooked meats. Brought up on a farm outside Hamilton, Josh fondly remembers trips to Fieldays when his father

used to work in a burger van. “I’d go every year when I was young and I absolutely adored it,” he says. “It’s a hugely iconic New Zealand event that has gone from strength to strength. “I’m very excited about coming to Fieldays and am looking forward to meeting some good rural people – it’s going to be spectacular.” With daily demonstrations, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch Josh’s sizzling shows in the Kiwi’s Best Kitchen Theatre, as he teaches audiences how to create delicious dishes from ingredients sourced in the Kiwi’s Best Kitchen marquee. Josh will be available to meet the public after his demonstrations on the Chef Series product stall, within the Kiwi’s Best Kitchen exhibition area.

Honing skills of effluent pond designers A course, being run nationwide, is giving contractors and designers of farm dairy effluent ponds a chance to build their expertise and stay up-to-date on industry developments. DairyNZ, in conjunction with InfraTrain New Zealand and New Zealand Water and Environment Training Academy Consultants (NZWETA), established the Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Design and Construction Course last year. The course, developed by industry professionals led by Opus International Consultants, is being held in Hamilton, Taupo, Oamaru, Palmerston North and Christchurch. Companies can still register at: nzweta. Representatives from more than 70 companies have already completed the course. DairyNZ sustainability team leader Theresa Wilson says dairy farmers benefit from having highly skilled people building their ponds and she is urging companies to sign up. “Companies are really stepping up to the plate by attending these courses. “These are specifically designed to help them meet the standards for the design and construction of ponds, outlined in the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) Practice Note 21,” says Theresa.

“The entire process of constructing an effluent pond is covered by this pond design and construction course, from planning through to testing and commissioning. Everyone in the construction process has an important part to play and will benefit from familiarising themselves with the standards.” Hugh Ratsey from Opus says the companies are put through their paces during the course. “Dairy farmers can be confident that those who have completed this course have the knowledge to provide an effluent pond built to industry good practice,” says Hugh. “The course includes a series of workshops with emphasis on practical learning.” InfraTrain chief executive Philip Aldridge is looking forward to more companies taking up the opportunity to attend the three-day course. “Effluent management has been a priority for the dairy industry over the last few years. These courses acknowledge that by including information on new developments, regulations and research that results in better management of effluent.” The Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Design and Construction Course for contractors and designers of farm dairy effluent ponds is on at Taupo, June 18-20. Those who have completed the course can be viewed on the InfraTrain register: www.infratrain.


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Page 50

‘Us and Them’ Campbell tale Sixty years ago, ti-tree and rushes grew in swamp on either side of what is today the Paeroa-Tahuna Rd. That was until young Malcolm Campbell and his father Samuel (then 65) began clearing the first of 500 acres (202 ha) to turn it into pasture. Malcolm and his wife Joan spent the next 50 years developing and farming the land, and along the way, built an airstrip and helped established an aero club which, for a short

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time, had the largest membership in the country. The airfield is no longer home to an aero club and the couple has since sold the farm but the box hedging spelling out the words Te Aroha, and the airstrip’s co-ordinate ‘10’, which Joan had planted, remain a landmark on the roadside. The Campbells have moved to a rural property near Waihi where Malcolm is writing the story of the farm, and the aero club, in a book he’s calling ‘Us and Them’ which will also take a dig at the bureaucracy he says is stifling farming, aviation and almost every aspect of life. “You couldn’t break in land today like we did 60 years ago. OSH and the Resource Management Act wouldn’t let you do it,” he says.


Malcolm used an Allis-Chamber tractor and a sickle bar mower, then later a D2 Caterpillar tractor and a heavy roller to clear ti-tree. When he’d cut just enough to create a small area of pasture, Malcolm went to a sale to buy cattle. However, there weren’t many fences and the animals headed off towards Tahuna, stopped only by the impenetrable swampland. Bringing the entire farm into production took a long time. As the land was cleared, more than 19km of drains were dug and many kilometres of fencing built. In 1974 Malcolm won a Farmers’ Inventions competition with a pto-driven rotary drain cleaner and digger he built from a dished disc from a rotary slasher, pipe, angle iron, rotary slasher gear boxes and a seven foot long drive shaft. It was a very effective unit, and because it threw the “muck” in a wide arc there were no big piles of material to flatten out later. “I used to make sure I only cleaned the drains when the wind would blow the muck away from me,” says Malcolm.


The farm was originally a dry stock unit. “In 1980 we were getting $16 for lambs and that was good money and we were on parity with the American

dollar, much as we are now.” However, their son Ewan and employee Geof Keightley convinced them the future was in dairying so Malcolm, Ewan and Geof built a shed and introduced dairy cows. Before the conversion, Malcolm fulfilled an ambition to learn to fly, taking lessons in 1962 with the Hauraki Aero Club under tutorship of the late Barry Hinton. Later, former World War II Catalina pilot Ken Fenwick initiated the idea of using the Campbell airstrip for more than spreading fertiliser. “He asked if he and others could bring a few planes over on a Saturday and start teaching people to fly,” says Malcolm.


Joan says the timing was just right. “A lot of the commercial pilots had flown during the war and were close to retiring. The national airline TEAL was looking for younger pilots but there weren’t many around, so aero clubs were training people.” The first club house was an old pre-fabricated building Samuel Campbell bought for 40 pounds. It was later replaced by a new one, built by members. When the site of the airstrip changed, the hangar was fitted with old telegraph poles to create a sledge – towed across the farm by tractors. The first aircraft were Piper Cubs, Victa Airtourers and then Cessna 150s. The first instructor was a Malcolm Campbell – but not the one who owned the farm. “It was quite a coincidence that his name was Malcolm. He was also married to a Joan and they had a son called David not much older than our son of the same name,” says Joan.


At $12 an hour, pilot training was within the reach of those who wanted to learn. Among them was Joan, who became one of a growing number of women taking to the skies to qualify as pilots in the 1970s. Nationally, they formed the New Zealand Airwomen’s Association and took part in competitions throughout the country. In 1974 Joan and Malcolm bought their first aircraft, which they still own, a Cessna 172 for

Page 51


Farm airstrip was home to largest aero club

Joan and Malcolm Campbell still have their first aircraft – a Cessna 172.

$16,900. “I reckon you’d pay closer to $300,000 for it now,” says Malcolm. Together they flew the dual-control plane up and down New Zealand to other clubs, to visit friends and family, and to Great Barrier Island. In 2002 the couple flew across Australia, to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, and over the Tasman back to New Zealand.

Aqua Avis

The aero club, which operated from their farm, created a national storm when it became part of an ambitious plan to establish a new airline, flying domestic and international routes – not however, from the small Campbell airstrip. “Club president Bruce McRae called a special meeting at which Matt Thomson of the Aqua Avia Society

Box hedging still marks the location of the former Te Aroha airstrip and its co-ordinate ‘10’.

asked if our club wished to affiliate itself with the society and its plans to fly three DC8s and a DC9. The idea was to increase our membership to 80,000 at $2 apiece. “In a very short time we had 30,000 members all with the right to fly as passengers on those aircraft making us the largest aero club in the country,” says Malcolm. Entrepreneur Matt Thomson hoped to take advantage of a loophole in New Zealand’s aviation regulations, which allowed members of a club or association to band together and charter an aircraft from an organisation with a charter license. The national airline was, at the time, Government-owned. Club members voted in favour but the Government created so many obstacles and delays that Aqua Avia

went out of business. In semi-retirement, Malcolm and Joan have continued to be innovators, building a new home at Waitawheta

with sweeping rural views and an efficient system of sun-tracking solar panels providing electricity. By Elaine Fisher

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Page 52

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...wins scholarship Flipping soil in drought-prone areas has been shown to have positive effects on pasture growth, says Nadia Laubscher. The 22-year-old University of Waikato masters student is determined to make a positive difference in the dairy farming industry with her research, which has taken a positive turn with Nadia being awarded the National Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship. Based in Hamilton, with parents living in Tauranga, Nadia is studying soil flipping in the Galatea basin and the effect it has on the soil makeup and moisture retention of the soil. “The reason why farmers are interested in flipping the soil in Galatea is because flipping brings up soil layers to the surface that have a higher clay and nutrient content than the current top soils. “I will be looking specifically at the effects of flipping and how it improves efficiency of moisture use for pasture production.” Soil flipping involves mechanically digging into the top 1-2metre of soil and tipping it end over end, mixing the different layers of soil.

University of Waikato masters student Nadia Laubscher has won a Fieldays scholarship to look at how soil flipping could help droughtprone areas. “The soil in the Galatea basin is really drought-prone in summer. Farmers there rely on irrigation, bringing in feed, or reducing stocking rates – all things not ideal for farmers.” Nadia is supported by Dairy NZ and is working under the supervision of Dr Megan Balks and professor David Lowe. She aims to finish her thesis in early 2014 and hopes her work will provide a scientific basis for understanding, and potentially enhancing, a new farming practice to increase productivity in the Eastern Bay. “After this project I hope to get into consultation work for effective soil management in agricultural systems.” The 2013 Fieldays is running from June 12th -15th at Mystery Creek, By Corrie Taylor near Hamilton.

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Helping to bring the ‘black dog’ to heel There appears to be a direct correlation between tough farming years and increased suicide rates among farmers, according to Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chairperson.

on the front. On the reverse, the card says: “Speak up – there’s a way through”. It also has the address of the depression website and phone number for Lifeline, as well as the emergency 111 number. “We used the black bitch image because many people refer to depression as being like a black dog. The card is that size because it can be carried in a Jeanette said that correlation was not surprising, pocket or wallet and if it needs to be used, someone given the stresses farmers were under during adverse can hold it in the palm of their hand and others weather conditions or harsh economic events. won’t know they are looking at it.” Jeanette said the rate of suicides was eight men to Farming’s suicide rate is 16 per every one woman – and it is the maternal instinct 100,000 people comwhich often stops women taking their lives. “They pared to 11.2 for worry about their children, and who the step-mother every 100,000 might be.” people living in Farming, as a urban areas. sector, had an Those statistics unacceptable death were among the rate from accidents reasons Federated too – which was not Farmers had launched alright, she said. its “when life’s a Every farm should bitch…” campaign. have a health and “It took 18 months safety plan, and there to get off the ground was a need to take because you are not the personal wellbeallowed to talk about suiing of farmers and cide,” Jeanette told the Bay their employees into of Plenty branch of Federaccount too. ated Farmers conference. Federated Farmers Key to the campaign is a is working alongside small green business card a number of organisawith a silhouette of black tions such as the Dairy dog and the words “When Women's Network, life’s a bitch… down? tired? DairyNZ, Rural The black dog of depression features on the stressed? anxious? Angry?” Women New Zealand, “When life’s a bitch” card.

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Page 54


Optimism for future despite ‘inside knowledge’ of disease Camilla Harvey of Katikati knew with chilling certainty just how serious disease Psa-V would be, when in 2010, she learned it had infected kiwifruit vines in Te Puke. During her years as a paediatric nurse, Camilla had seen what the bacterial family known as pseudomonas could do to human health – and she had no doubt the pathogen infecting kiwifruit vines would be hard to handle. There is no risk to human health from pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae, the bacteria the kiwifruit industry knows as Psa-V, but since 2010 it has been responsible for the death of hundreds of kiwifruit vines in New Zealand and brought about the virtual demise of the previously lucrative gold Hort16A variety. It wasn’t just her medical background which helped Camilla understand the disease. She and husband Steve own the contracting business Total Orchard Solutions, a 4 ha orchard and have 700 pollination and honey hives – so they knew all strands of their livelihood would be under threat from the bacteria. They also knew the impacts on orchardists would be emotional as well as financial. With a background in psychiatric nursing too, Camilla understood that support for growers would be vital in the months to follow.


So, while preparing their own business as well as they could, Camilla became regional co-ordinator for Kiwifruit Vine Health, the organisation was set up to

Camilla Harvey has recently stepped down as KVH regional co-ordinator for Katikati.

...important to make the call for growers to look after themselves too as it was obvious we were all in for a stressful time.

handle the industry’s response to Psa-V. In 2011, she was also among the first group of growers to travel to Italy to see the impacts of the disease there. Many on that trip were shocked by the destruction Psa had caused to Italian orchards and were pessimistic about the New Zealand industry’s ability to survive. However, Camilla says although it was bad, she didn’t believe it would mean the end of a profitable kiwifruit industry here. She did recognise that information and support for growers would be key to helping the industry come through Psa – and this was part of her motivation to become regional co-ordinator for Katikati, a role she has recently stepped down from. However, she is still a member of the committee.


“It was important to get information to growers about the options which were available but it was also important to make the call for growers to look after themselves too as it was obvious we were all in for a stressful time.” Camilla says the Italy visit also taught her something about how to manage Psa-V infected orchards. “Roberto Altobello, whose Hort16A orchard survived longer than most, talked about trying to prune only when the weather was fine and dry to reduce the opportunity for Psa infection.” Roberto also believed in reducing stress on his vines and ensuring the soil in which they grew was healthy and full of microbial activity. The party saw other orchards where copper sprays had been used to excess, turning the vines blue with residue. In New Zealand, Camilla says some growers pushed back against KVH recommendations for Psa management, which included the use of copper


Pelletised Pelletised


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sprays, because they were concerned about their possible impact on life in the soils or phytotoxicity (an adverse reaction by the plant to the spray).


However, she and Steve decided to use coppers at the lower end of the allowable application rates, similar to those permitted for organic growers, on their own orchard and those they managed. So far there have not been any signs of phytotoxicity or a reduction in worms or microbial activity in the soils. The Harvey orchard has been used for an independent copper trial by a product company, including applying it at different rates and mixed with oil or seaweed. “There has been some concern that the sprays might not be giving a good coverage to the top of the canopy, which is where the airborne bacteria lands, but a trial on our orchard using florescent die showed the coverage is pretty good. “Growers were invited to the orchard after dark when infra-red lights were used to show up the spray coverage.” Steve and Camilla followed, and still follow other KVH recommendations for Psa management including strict orchard hygiene, cutting out any canes which show die back caused by the disease, and sealing larger pruning wounds. However, they chose not to apply the antibiotic KeyStrepto while respecting the right of other growers to do so.


Using the industry-recommended management protocols for Psa appears to be working. Their own and most of their clients’ orchards do have the disease, but all have continued to produce crops, although for most Hort16A growers this is likely to be their last harvest.

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Rural finance – The Good the Bad and the Ugly Rural finance is a hot topic and not for the faint hearted. Banks have done a great job in putting their funds with farmers’ cash and helping them buy farms. Many farmers have done extremely well, re-paid or managed bank debt to their own advantage and come out very wealthy. However, a minority have not done so well and now find they are facing a forced sale of some form. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was only the State Advances Corporation (owned and run by the Government) and a few private lenders which included some insurance companies. This is where I started my banking career as did many of your senior lenders today. State Advances became the Rural Bank, and then was taken over by the National Bank, (now the ANZ) and other banks then came into the market. Realistic debt with planned repayments was the “name of the game”. Fast forwarding in time to the boom, it lasted for 10 years straight. Many of the young rural bankers finished at university and had never seen hard times, let alone a recession. Banks were recruiting young inexperienced bankers and putting them out into the market place very early with little experience to support them. More than that, banks had two parts to their business – the ‘sales’ man and the ‘client service’ man. The sales man was on commission to ‘sell’ money (for example, a product) – and sell they did. Commission selling was the wrong incentive for some in a boom.

A number of these young ‘salesmen’ got carried away and advanced money at ratios that we crusty old bankers could not understand, and more importantly – would not do. I, for example, stopped at $26 debt per kg. They, however, kept going to $40 debt per kg and even $50 debt per kg. Farmers had no show of servicing that level on a long term basis. In fact, sustainable debt loading, according to AgResearch, is around $20 to $25 debt per kg. Additionally, there were many cases where young bankers “cooked the books” to get a loan approved. Why? Because there was commission involved and banks were vying for market share. For example, if one bank would not do the deal, then the farmer would go down the street to another bank or even to a third bank, and so on. This caused frenzy – and logic flew out the window. Now, the best way I can explain what happened is to use a water tank as an illustration. The roof of the water tank is the total asset value and the water is the debt. The closer the water (debt) gets to the roof (total assets) the less air (or equity) there is. You see, the banks have first “dibs” on everything and you get what is left. If it gets out of balance, they call up the water tanker, get their water out and leave you with what is left. Often very little air.

Focus on vine and soil health “We support growers in whatever decision they make about their orchard’s future but it appears most with Hort 16A will cut the vines out this winter and re-graft. “Last spring, some vines on two of our Hort16A orchards showed some excaudate (oozing) symptoms of the disease and were removed. But since then we have mainly seen die back and we cut it back to clean wood. “For the orchard owner it’s probably better to have someone else do that because it is hard emotionally to do so, to your own orchard. “To growers these are not just plants. They are vines they have invested a good deal of time and money into and for many they represent their retirement plan, both for income and a lifestyle. It’s hard to see that under threat.” Camilla is grateful their orchard and business is located in Katikati. Being away from the intensely infected “ground zero” Te Puke region has meant so far infection rates have not been as high – and Katikati growers have been able to learn from the Te Puke experience.

New varieties

“We are also fortunate that we had planted two-thirds of a hectare of the new variety G3 in 2010, and the balance, in the green G14 in 2009 because the new vines had a chance to become established before Psa-V arrived here, making them apparently better able to cope with the infection.” Steve and Camilla’s company has

recently expanded to beekeeping, with 700 hives for both pollination and honey production. While helping run the businesses and managing an orchard, Camilla is also mum to Douglas (11) and twins Kate and Maia (8). “Orcharding offers a lifestyle which gives us the opportunities to be involved with our children’s schooling, sports and other interests.”


Taking on the role of regional coordinator did place more demands on her time but Camilla says in many ways it also helped her cope with the stress of Psa. “Talking to growers, reading technical information and then helping ‘translate’ it into more grower-friendly language; and learning about what management practices work for others helped me too. “It also helps, even now, knowing that we have done everything we can to protect our vines so I don’t worry quite so much now when it rains, because I know we have taken all the precautions we can.” Despite some dire predictions about the industry’s future when Psa-V was first discovered –it hasn’t collapsed. Camilla is confident, thanks to the New Zealand industry’s unified structure, significant research and development underway, and the “number eight wire” innovative and tenacious nature of orchardists, the kiwifruit industry has a bright and sustainable future. By Elaine Fisher

More than that, there are no controls or standards that must be met by the liquidator and/or receivers (in the case of a company) or a realtor (in the case of a sole trader sale). This is why some people want a debt mediation bill, to force banks to mediate a solution that leaves the existing party with something (some air) and their dignity. Remember, earlier on, in many circumstances it was the banker who was your best mate peddling more money. Going back to when you owned the air in the water tank, if you stopped paying the interest “rent on the money” then the banks really started to “amp” up the pressure. Additionally, in the boom, banks were trying to sell other products, such as life cover, sickness insurance, swaps, and fixed rate loans to increase the return to the bank (and to the sales person as well). So, there you have it. We must not blame the banks for all of it because we were the keen borrowers. But, on reflection things may have been done in frenzy by the bankers which leaves a lot to be desired, and many

farmers have and will face their demise with little dignity. This is not bank bashing, it is about telling it how it was and it is - the “good, the bad and the ugly”. These are the opinions of Don Fraser of Fraser Farm Finance. Any decisions made should not be based on this article alone and appropriate professional assistance should be sought. Don Fraser is the Principal of Fraser Farm Finance and a consultant to the Farming Industry. Contact him on 0800 777 675 or 021 777 675. A disclosure document is available on request.


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Run down orchard transformed Every one of the 368 avocado trees on Maria and Andrew Watchorn’s 6.5 hectare orchard is, in their opinion, an individual and so each receives individual attention. That approach appears to be working. The 2.7 canopy hectare orchard has consistently harvested between 8000 and 12,000 trays of fruit each year for the last five years, with 75-85 per cent of this going to export. Maria, a former career banker and now full-time mother to Caleb (11) and part-time orchardist (by her description) – manages the orchard. In the last 18 months, Andrew, also a banker, has left the world of finance to work on the orchard too.


When the couple bought an overgrown citrus orchard at Omokoroa they intended to convert it to kiwifruit, having owned, but leased out, a kiwifruit block at Oropi. “We had the property GPS surveyed and to our surprise discovered there were around 300 avocados,” says Maria. The trees had been hard to spot because they had been inter-planted and almost

overgrown by large gnarly old citrus trees. Finding the avocados changed their thinking – and their fortunes. Andrew says he’s glad, given the impacts of the disease Psa-V, that they didn’t convert the block to kiwifruit. The first year saw Andrew spend almost every free moment after work cutting out citrus trees and cleaning up the orchard and, where possible and spaces appeared, new avocado plantings were made. Some citrus trees were retained to provide income as the orchard made its transition to avocados. Maria devoured all the information she could about how to grow avocados successfully.


“I went to the library, to field days, read the avocado manual repeatedly and watched everything the contractors did,” says Maria, who never expected to enjoy orchard management so much but was determined to do it well. “It’s quite a change to go from suits and heels and working in air-conditioned comfort to wearing old shorts and t-shirts, getting bumps and bruises on my arms and legs, but I think I have a pretty good office, out in the fresh air.”

Andrew and Maria Watchorn are pleased they didn’t convert their orchard to kiwifruit. Given her background, it is probably no surprise Maria has taken to growing as passionately as she has. Her Italian father Umberto, of Whakatane, is a talented gardener who taught his daughter to understand and respect plants and trees. “I didn’t realise how much I had learned from him until we bought this

orchard. I think you absorb that kind of knowledge by osmosis. “Dad taught me to really look at trees and see what was going on. He also said to treat them like a woman and not over-burden them with producing too many ‘babies’, which is why when I learned about flower pruning it made so much sense.”

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Installing an expensive frost protection scheme was one of the first initiatives the couple took. The orchard is divided into nine sectors and in all but two, each tree has a sprinkler high in the canopy, fed by tepid bore water. Temperature probes throughout the orchard are set to automatically trigger the computer-controlled irrigation system if temperatures drop to four degrees Celsius. The system doesn’t turn off until temperatures reach five degrees Celsius, usually the next morning. “The system pulses so that zones are irrigated one after the other. Because the water is slightly warm, the orchard steams when the system is working. We wanted to have the water at a pressure and volume to provide the effective protection needed, so decided not to install it in two zones.


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Each tree an individual and treated as such Watchorn orchard fact box: • 2.7 canopy orchard • 368 trees • 10 per cent are pollinizers • 8000 to 12,000 trays each year

Although the orchard has no obvious signs of Phytophthora, trees are injected each year. However, despite not having the system, trees in those areas have produced equally as well as everywhere else in the orchard,” says Maria. The system is also used to water and irrigate the trees during drier months, in an effort to reduce heat stress and promote fruit size. Particular focus is given during the flowering period to ensure tensiometer readings are kept below 25.


Keeping the orchard sward mown, and spraying to leave bare ground is another means of helping keep the orchard warm. “I think that the bare ground absorbs more warmth from the sun and then releases it slowly at night, keeping the temperature a little warmer.” Colin Partridge is the orchard’s consultant and Maria values and respects his knowledge and advice, but challenges his reasoning at times too. “We have some very good debates. When it comes to fertiliser, I take his recommendations but then look at each tree to see what the fruit load is like, leaf size and colour and apply what I think it needs by hand.” Almost by accident, the spacings of the original 15-year-old trees on the orchard are pretty much ideal at 9m x 10m or 12m x 14m, because they were planted between existing citrus trees and commercial flower beds. Over the last six years, Andrew and Maria have planted more trees, including pollinisers which now account for about 10 per cent of their tree numbers. “Two years ago, we started planting three different varieties of pollinisers together in spaces where avocados have been removed or have blown over.” Zutano, Fuerte and Bacon have been the main varieties but recently Ettinger has been planted too. Orchard contractor Mike Dillon is another avocado expert, whose opinions and knowledge, Maria respects. “Mike has extensively flower pruned for us and I really trust him. I’d rather prune flowers for the health of the trees and to even out the crop each year. It would be very hard to manage financially going from a crop one year to nothing the next.” Flower pruning hasn’t been so vigorous in the last two years, partly because of an extensive foliage pruning programme. Maria is also fussy about bees, seeking out a beekeeper who looked after his hives, so providing healthy, active orchard workers. She found that at Kaimai Bees, which

supplies six hives per canopy hectare for the orchard, depending on flowering vigour. Although the orchard has no obvious signs of phytophthora, Maria, (with the help of Mike this year), injects every tree during February to early March, to provide protection against the fungal infection. Walking through the orchard with Maria is a lesson in observing tree health and form. “These trees have lots of fruit but you can’t immediately see that because there is so much foliage. I like growth beyond the fruit because it provides nutrients for this season’s fruit and will produce the fruit for the next,” says Maria, who frequently stops to handle leaves checking for size, colour, texture and any sign of pests. Maria likes symmetry in her trees. Her pruning programme aims to open up the inside of the tree, allowing light into its trunks, encourage spray efficiency, with foliage covering the outer canopy from top to bottom, creating a well-balanced form, reminiscent of a large dome tent. Andrew and Maria have decided trees will not be allowed to exceed six metres in height, the reach of the Hydraladas used to harvest the fruit, which is packed through Apata. However, not all trees on the block conform to that ideal and those which fail to make the grade in terms of form, health or position, wear a ‘collar’ indicating their time in the orchard may be limited. The Watchorn’s orchard is one of 11 being used by New Zealand Avocado to conduct a pruning trial on 25 trees. This trial is to determine timing and severity of pruning, for trees of different age classes, which will deliver consistent export quality fruit, high yields and reduced harvest costs. The trial runs five years, with two years remaining. The orchard was extensively mulched during the first few years of its development but now leaf litter is allowed to build up beneath the trees to serve that role.

fruit. That increased to 16-17 tonne and in the coming season production looks set to reach about 24 tonne. With this comes ever-increasing picking costs, which Maria and Andrew try to manage in the traditional Italian way of calling on family and friends to help at harvest time. This get-together results in plenty of fun and laughter both during and after

harvest time when the traditional harvest celebration occurs. Avocado growing has provided the Watchorn family with an income and lifestyle they enjoy – especially the flexibility it offers for Maria and Andrew to spend time with Caleb. They say it’s nerve-wracking when storms, frosts and insects threaten trees and crops, but it’s immensely satisfying when excellent fruit is harvested in economically-viable quantities. However, the biggest thrill avocado growing has given the family so far is being the orchard Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae chose to visit last year. “I was absolutely thrilled at the honour and it was lovely to meet him. He is just such a nice man,” says Maria. By Elaine Fisher



Insect ID

When she’s working in the orchard, Maria carries an ice cream container filled with insect identification gear, including a magnifying glass. “We haven’t had a serious insect problem but I do spray, when required, up to eight times a year.” The orchard also receives regular copper sprays. In the first year the Watchorns owned the orchard, it produced nine tonnes of



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Auckland Grammar School The school’s boarding house invites applications for 2014

College motocross graduating Tauranga Boys’ College rider Reed Van de Leer competes at this month’s Western Heights MotoX event. Photo by Hayley Hawkless.

Auckland Grammar School offers young men: • An unsurpassed state school education • A dual academic pathway of NCEA or Cambridge International Examinations • An extensive range of sporting codes at all levels • A diversity of cultural and extra curricular activities • A unique combination of academic challenge, sporting endeavour, cultural richness and tradition • Supervised nightly study Located on spacious grounds directly adjacent to the School, Tibbs House provides modern accommodation, study and recreational facilities for 120 boarders. Our young men are supported by eight full-time masters, who offer expertise in a wide range of teaching subjects and activities. Download an enrolment application at or contact Mr P Morton, the Senior Housemaster, at

Tibbs House, 87 Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland 1023, New Zealand

Growth in popularity of motocross at Western Bay secondary schools has led to plans for the region’s first inter-school event later this year. Tauranga Boys’ College motocross team manager Tony Heyblom is driving plans to host a round at Pirini Motorbike Park at the end of the season. “Our problem in Tauranga is that we don’t have a track that can cater to the large numbers the event would attract. Maddix Park just couldn’t cope with the 300 odd riders and all their supporters.” Tony says work needs to be done to modify the track – which was designed for quad biking – to offer a starting line where all motocross riders could begin together. He aims to hold the inter-school event in September or October, with hopes to make it an annual event. He says motocross has become a serious sporting option at secondary schools, with riders in the individual pursuit benefitting from being part of a team – which saw Western Bay riders take part in a two-day riding camp at Pirini park in Patetonga at the start of the season in March. The camp

attracted 65 riders, including 39 from the boys’ team, for training sessions with some top Tauranga-based riders. “We had Ben Townley and Nick Franklin, both world champs, join us at the camp and Dion Picard an up and coming New Zealand star, along with Niki Urwin. Not many sports, let alone school teams, can call on world champs to come along and have a play.” He says it was a great way to begin the season, with all the riders inspired by the top riders. “When Ben took to the track they were in awe. They didn’t know whether to watch him ride or follow him.” Tony says it was great to see the community get behind the sport, with generous sponsorship from many businesses. After a mixed start to the season Tauranga Boys’ motocross team – at the first inter-college event in Patetonga the team finished 16 out of 22 after a few bike breakdowns – the school returned to better form finishing fifth at the Western Heights MotoX Tournament. “I would have liked to have done better, but we’re getting there.” Otumoetai College, which debuted its motocross team last year, has joined Boys’ as the dominant Western Bay schools competing. By Hamish Carter

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Growing together at country school

Sydnie, Josephine, Kelly-Anne, Emily and Elizabeth enjoy playing on the fort at Rerewhakaaitu Playcentre.

Playcentre fun for children and adults

Rerewhakaaitu School is the heart of a forestry and farming community.

Close to the shores of picturesque Lake Rerewhakaaitu and nearby Mount Tarawera, is Lake Rerewhakaaitu School. The rural primary school lies in the heart of a vibrant forestry and farming community just 30 minutes south of Rotorua. With a current roll of about 80 students, the school may be small in size, but as principal Patricia McGee explains, opportunities abound within the supportive learning environment. “In addition to providing a strong base in literacy and mathematics, we offer a huge range of activities for children to participate in. These experiences allow children to discover new skills, develop perseverance, mix with different people – and see the world in a new light. “They can identify their own talents and interests and start to form aspirations for their future.”

Established in 1955, the school enjoys strong support from a very involved local community. “The power of community is evident in all events our children participate in,” says Patricia, “from our camps to sporting events, kapa haka, musical productions, class trips and much more”. Quality teaching and learning experiences are provided with smallgroup teacher instruction catering for children’s individual needs. Teaching staff are continually striving to further improve learning programmes and keep involved in the latest Ministry of Education discussions around how to accelerate children’s learning. The school motto “Together We Grow” acknowledges the power of sharing ideas, learning from one another and living better in the world as a result. “It serves as recognition of the strength of our community and a reminder of the value in strengthening it further,” adds Patricia. By Jo Roberts

Rerewhakaaitu Playcentre is holding an open day, for all new and returning families with pre-schoolers, on Monday, June 24. “This is a great opportunity to call in for a coffee and some home baking and check out what playcentre has to offer,” says president Charlotte Mogg. “Playcentre is a great place for our children to grow and have lots of fun and adventure. Many new friendships are formed, for both children and parents, and we play and learn alongside our children.” With a current roll of 19 families and 28 children attending on a regular basis, Rerewhakaaitu Playcentre offers a great forum

for getting to know others in the local community and establishing an invaluable support network. Sessions are run between 9.30am and 12.30pm on Mondays and Fridays. With a fantastic outdoor playground and 16 areas of play on offer, including painting, music and movement, carpentry, sand, play-dough, exploratory, construction and much more, there is always lots to do. “We also plan activities around two or three different themes per term,” says Charlotte. “Our current theme is safety and as part of this we have recently enjoyed ‘Gus the dog’ coming in with one of our parents to teach us about safety around dogs and also a fantastic trip to the fire station.” Exciting and adventurous trips

out and about in the local community are planned every term, with favourites this year including an Easter egg hunt at the Redwood Forest and a bike day at the Rerewhakaaitu Domain. The parent-led centre was established in 1973 and this year celebrate its 40th anniversary. “We have a really strong group of members who pull together for fundraising and working bees and generally contribute to the day-to-day running of our centre,” says Charlotte. “It’s great to be involved in our local community and to provide such a great learning experience for our kids.” For more information please contact Charlotte Mogg, telephone (07) 366 6922 or Nicola Johnson, 027 497 8935. By Jo Roberts

Lindisfarne College ‘Founded on Tradition... Focused on the Future’

‘Founded on Tradition... Focused on the Future’ ‘Founded on Tradition... Focused on the Future’

10 Great Reasons Choose Boarding atLindisfarne Lindisfarne College... 10 10 Great Reasons to Choose Boarding at Lindisfarne College...College... Great Reasons toto Choose Boarding at •• • • • • • • • •• •• •• •• ••

• One One oftop NZ’s top boy’s schools. One of NZ’s boy’s schools. of NZ’s top boy’s schools. A• safe, and positive boarding community. A caring safe, caring and positive boarding community. A safe, caring and positive boarding community. A• proven recordrecord of personalised care bycare experienced staff. A proven of personalised by experienced staff. A proven record of personalised care by experienced staff. Modern, living facilities with access to all school facilities. • Modern, living facilities with access to all school facilities. Modern, homework living facilities witheach access towith all school facilities. Supervised and study night tutors • Supervised homework and study each night withavailable tutors available Supervised homework and study each night with tutors available Organised weekend activities. • Organised weekend activities. Organisedfood weekend activities. Outstanding plenty of it! of it! • Outstandingand food and plenty Outstanding food and plenty of it! and behaviour High expectations of traditional manners • High expectations of traditional manners and behaviour Strong that focus developingmanners ‘Good Men’ lead successful and significant lives. High values expectations ofon traditional andtobehaviour

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“We Lindisfarne College congratulates our boys on their outstandingCollege 2012 NCEA results. our boys Lindisfarne congratulates on their outstanding 2012 NCEA results. Lindisfarne College congratulates our boys OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC RESULTS on their outstanding 2012 NCEA results.

know boys, we know how to teach them, we think they are great!”

“We know boys, we know how to teach them, we think they are great!” “We know boys, we know how to teach them, we think they are great!”

OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC RESULTS NCEA % Pass Rate (Source NZQA) NCEA %ACADEMIC (Source NZQA) OUTSTANDING NCEA Level 1Pass Rate 99%RESULTS NCEA Level 2 Rate NCEA % Pass (Source99% NZQA) NCEA Level 1 98% NCEANCEA Level Level 3 91% 98% NCEA Level 1 2 99% UE NCEA Level 3 92% 91% NCEA Level 2 98% • 33 Scholarships UE Levelincluding 92% NCEA 3 91% Phone (06) 8731136 Fax: (06) 8786955 7 Outstanding Scholarships • 33 Scholarships including UENZ Student - AgHort 92% • Top email:Phone (06) 8731136 Fax: (06) 8786955 7 Outstanding Scholarships Head Boy: Stuart Curran • • ‘Premier Scholar” Top 10 NZ 33 including Website - • Scholarships Top NZ Student - AgHort Deputy Head Boy: Jared McCormack email: • Most Scholarships in the region Phone (06) 8731136 Fax: (06) 8786955 7• Outstanding Scholarships Head Boy: Stuart Curran ‘Premier Scholar” Top 10 NZ Website - Deputy Head Boy: Jared McCormack • Top NZ Student AgHort email: • Most Scholarships in the region

• ‘Premier Scholar” Top 10 NZ • Most Scholarships in the region

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Planning essential and time is running out

The subdivision rules of many district plans in the region are currently under appeal, following council decisions to reduce subdivision and development in a major way. In my view, this is only the start, regardless of the Government reviewing the Resource Management Act. Land development is going to get much tougher. It has never been more important to plan ahead and obtain additional titles to give you flexibility in managing and developing your property. Led by regional council, your council is likely to be setting a minimum lot area of 40 hectare. We have seen this in many districts already and it is hard to fight. Limiting subdivision to this size means there will not be a variety of lot sizes available for more intensive uses, which ultimately drives economic development. Currently, there are appeals lodged against Waikato, Hauraki, and Matamata-Piako. I expect more to come as other councils announce their decisions on proposed rule changes.

Unfortunately, landowners are not always aware of these changes which can have a huge effect on their future. It is no longer safe to ignore what's happening at council. They are indeed making changes that at the very least make development much more expensive – at worst – impossible. Proposed changes throughout the region generally take away the chance to subdivide off a small lot which may be required to retire on, settle family members, start a new venture or – dare I say it – sell to allow somebody to share the rural lifestyle or work in the area. That opportunity could be gone if current appeals are unsuccessful. Even carving off 20 ha to sell as a run-off or 5ha for a horticultural block will be impossible in most areas. I don't see this trend being reversed in the future without a landowner revolt. So, my advice to everyone is to consider your options and plan for the future

now. Otherwise, if your circumstances change and you want a smaller farm or some flexibility with your titles you will be forced to sell up and move. You should always make submissions on the rule changes whether you agree or disagree with proposals – don't believe that the rules will end up as council initially advertise. I have seen cases where the Environment Court makes a ruling quite different to either that originally proposed by council or that proposed by a submitter. So, if you have been procrastinating over how to get the best value out of your land, now is the time to act, before it is too late. If you are interested to find out how the changes may affect you, feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation. Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. For further information, call 07 838 1571 or email:

Sustainable, dependable heating A wood fire is the cheapest form of heating, it delivers the nicest kind of heat and when the power stops – the dependable wood fire just keeps on going, says Ngaire McClure of Wagener Stoves. “Wood fires provide warm , cosy, healthy homes year after year – no dehumidifier is necessary and they are designed to heat your home using the world’s number one sustainable fuel – which of course is carbon neutral wood.” Ngaire says the Wagener Fairburn Cooker is the ultimate lifestyle appliance not only heating the home, but also providing home cooking and all of the household’s hot water. “It’s brilliant for power savings and self-sufficiency.” The Wagener Fairburn offers many benefits including ease of operation and low maintenance. The deep brick-lined firebox can deliver long burn times and is fitted with glass in the door for enjoyment of the flames. The full size oven is also fitted with glass in the door to watch the progress of baking, and when fitted with a “Lion” wetback, the Wagener Fairburn delivers generous supplies of hot water with ease. Wagener Stoves has been manufacturing solid fuel stoves and wetbacks for more than 30 years and are proud to produce quality and affordable New Zealand-made power savers. They are also home of the CookTop Wagener Stove, the Butler Multi, Sparky, Lion Wetbacks and Treadle Hearths.


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Farm sales solid despite drought Nationally, there were 67 more farm sales – equating to a 17.8 per cent increase – in the three months to the end of April – compared to the previous three months to March this year. The data, released by the Real Estate Institute of NZ, also shows the number of farm sales in three months to the end of April was 443 (nationally). In 12 months to April 2013, 1454 farms were sold – a 5.1 per cent increase compared to the same period to April 2012. A median price per hectare for all farms sold during three months to April 2013 was $20,241 - an 8.7 per cent increase on the $18,617 recorded for three months ending April 2012. But the median price per hectare fell by 9.3 per cent compared to March. REINZ’s All Farm Price Index increased by 1.4 per cent in the three months to April compared to the three months to March, from 2907.18 to 2946.57. Compared to April 2012, the index, which adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type (compared to the median price per hectare which does not adjust for these factors), fell by 5.2 per cent. Six regions recorded increases in sales volume for three months ended April 2013, compared to the same period in 2012, with Auckland increasing by 23 sales, Waikato up 11, and Northland up by 10. Eight regions recorded decreases in sales volume with Southland down by 18 sales, Canterbury down 17 and Nelson down by 9. But, compared to the three months ended March 2013, 11 regions recorded an increase in sales, led by Manawatu/Wanganui with an extra 13 sales. “In spite of the earlier dry conditions that resulted

in some vendors being reluctant to commit to the marketplace, sales volumes have remained steady, prices have remained fully firm and the demand for rural property has been consistently strong across the country,” says REINZ rural market spokesman Brian Peacocke. “Highlights include, strong interest in dry stock and dairy properties in the Waikato and King Country, a re-emergence of interest in kiwifruit sector in the Bay of Plenty, steady activity in the horticulture sector in Gisborne, and increasing demand for dairy land in the lower North Island, underpinned by bank support,” says Brian. “In the South Island, there’s been very strong demand for dairy, dairy support, finishing and arable land across Canterbury, strong demand for drystock properties in Otago and a busy market in Southland for all property types.”

Largest number of sales

Grazing properties accounted for the largest number of sales with a 46.3 per cent share of all sales during three months to April. Dairy properties accounted for 19.6 per cent, finishing properties held 18.7 per cent and Horticulture properties had 7 per cent, with the four property types accounting for 91.6 per cent of all sales. Brian says activity in the lifestyle sector remains solid across the country, with Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury being the most active regions. “The lifestyle market in Auckland is benefitting from the strong urban residential market, with some spill over effects from Auckland into the Waikato market where local demand is being boosted by expats return and demand from Auckland. There is an emerging shortage of properties in the $900,000 - $1 million ranges in the Waikato. In Canterbury, demand is strongest in the $600,000 $700,000 range with slower activity at higher price points.”



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Mystery even to museum staff This month’s mystery item, from the Katikati Heritage Museum is a true mystery. Museum staff have no idea what it is and they hope Coast & Country readers may be able to identify it. It’s a leather band, about the size of a man’s wrist, fastened with a buckle, and fitted with a series of hooks riveted to the wide leather band. “It was among our agricultural collection but I’m not sure that it was used in farming. “We really are puzzled by it and would like to know what it is,” says museum manager Paula Gaelic. If you know what this mystery item is or have a story to tell about memories of using or seeing it used, you could be in to win a museum visit for two. Send your entry to ‘Mystery Item’ by emailing:

Do you know what this is?

elaine@thesun. or post to Mystery Item, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110 to arrive no later than June 17. The winner will be announced in the July Coast & Country. Last month’s mystery item wasn’t a mystery to at least two readers who correctly identified it as a razor strop. “I believe the ‘Mystery Item’ is a razor strop used to hone up cut throat razors. Yes, I have

had an experience with one. As a child I received two hidings from one,” wrote John Hart. The leather razor strop was often used to strap ‘naughty’ children back when it was socially acceptable to do so. Trevor Mitchell of Tokoroa was a little more precise. “I think it is a de lux form (maybe a roll-up for portability) of the razor strop used for honing cut throat razors,” he wrote, making Trevor the winner of a visit for two to the Katikati Heritage Museum.

Change in the law on redundancies Three recent cases from the Employment Court are indicating a change in the way the court is viewing redundancies. Employment Law Services

The impact of these cases is such that employers are wise to seek professional advice before undertaking any consultation that may result in redundancies. Of interest, is the emphasis the court is placing on the provision of applicable information to any potentially-affected employee. If an employer is considering making an employee redundant they will be required to supply information to a potentially-affected employee to assist the employee to understand the employer’s reasoning for considering a redundancy. Further, the test the court is now applying “is whether what the employer did (dismissal for

the reason of redundancy) was what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in all the circumstances at the time”. In the recent case Michael Rittson -Thomas t/a Totara Hills Farm v Davidson, the chief judge of the Employment Court states that it is insufficient, under section 103A of the Employment Relations Act, where an employer is challenged to justify a dismissal or disadvantage in employment, for the employer to simply say that this was a genuine business decision and the court (or the authority) is not entitled to inquire into the merits of it. The court (or the authority) will need to do so to determine whether the decision, and how it was reached, were what a fair and reasonable employer could have

done in all the relevant circumstances. In another 2013 case (Gilbert v Transfield Services NZ Ltd), from the Employment Court, the chief judge reinstated the employee, Gilbert, to his former position and ordered that Gilbert be paid compensation for all remuneration lost by him as a result of his unjustified dismissal, interest on lost wages, and $15,000 for compensation for hurt and humiliation. In this case, Gilbert was dismissed for redundancy by Transfield. However, when the court examined clearly the employer’s actions, and how it went about these, when determining the justification for the dismissal, they deemed the dismissal to be unjustified. Before embarking on any restructuring, ensure you are aware of these new cases from the Employment Court. This article is intended as a point of reference and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Specialist advice should always be sought in relation to any particular circumstances, and no liability will be accepted for any losses incurred by those relying solely on this article.




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Kokako dialect expressed in song Few people are as well qualified to write about one of New Zealand’s most rare and special birds as the late Jeff Hudson, a former hunter turned kokako expert. The Whakatane man spent 20 years helping save the kokako from extinction and discovered much about the birds that was previously unknown, or unconfirmed. For instance, his own talents as a musician helped Jeff establish that kokako have their own dialect, expressed in song. This and much more about the

Watercress’, tells bird is told in the story of the the book ‘Call bird he came to of the kokako’, love in a laconic, dictated by Jeff very Kiwi style. during his illness It’s a story of and not long the bush, the before he died of birds, his fellow cancer in 2007. Jeff directed the workers but biggest survey also of politiof kokako ever cal intrigues, attempted and was bureaucracy key to engineering and scientific the recovery of the research. species, especially Thanks to ted cta kako” di in the Te Urewera publishers “Call of the ko dson National Park. the Halcyon by Jeff Hu The man, who was Press, Coast & the inspiration for characters Country has a copy of ‘Call of the in Barry Crump’s book ‘Pork and kokako’ to give away.

To be in to win, email: Book Prize (in the subject line) with your name, address and phone number to: or include these details on the back of an envelope and post to Book Prize, Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110 to arrive no later than June 17. The winner will be announced in the July Coast & Country.

10 minute personal health check Stop reading now – and do a 10 minute health check. Think of every part of your body and write a list of the body parts and systems that are not doing so well in order of priority. Some of the problems may be permanent while others can be improved or eliminated with the right type of therapy. I call this striving for perfect imperfection. My discipline of nutritional medicine identifies problems that can be influenced by nutritional therapy, usually in conjunction with conventional medicine. Every health problem creates its own nutritional requirements. For example, people with inflammatory bowel disease such as crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have a lower level of vitamin and mineral absorption because their digestive system has been compromised by the disease. Other diseases increase the need for antioxidants, such as osteoarthritis where cartilage damage is mostly from free radical damage to joint cells. I’ve been helping someone with arthritis, muscular pain and low energy. After an investigation, we found she had long-standing arthritis and had developed statin myopathy, the muscular weakness and pain from long-term cholesterol lowering medications. We made sure her diet is antiinflammatory then added a broad spectrum multi-nutritional supplement plus a high grade CoQ10 supplement. Within a few months she’s had a major reduction in muscle and joint pain and a significant increase in her energy levels. While her results have been excellent there is nothing particularly difficult about what we did. We just identified the healing processes, compromised by disease and medication, then aided these through both supplements and a good diet. She is not perfect but she feels like a different person. If you are unwell, it maybe your body telling you things are not well. It may be time to review what you

are doing and then to implement measures to re-build your healing processes. Give me a call if you need more information. Join my weekly newsletter at: or visit: www. John Arts is a Nutritional Therapist and founder of Abundant Health. Contact John on 0800 423 559. To read more go to

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They grow them as big as moose in Maine Once, there were 6.6 million farms in USA. Now there are 1.9 million. Corporatisation, as in New Zealand, is responsible for the demise of the family farm, along with deterioration in quality of the food produced, writes Brett of his visit to the USA. Alan Perry who works in North Eastern USA and Canada took us to see operations manager Emily Smith, a sixth generation farmer, who ran us through the problems that vegetable growers are facing. Emily runs 1600 ha of broccoli. Part of complying with food regulations involves keeping moose and their droppings out of the unfenced broccoli fields. They are partial to broccoli too. One handsome bull would not cooperate and now spends all of its time keeping an eye on Emily from her office wall.


Maine has a fantastic landscape – the 1600 ha is by no means contiguous with most land being rented. Where possible, leases are five years with a right of renewal, at $185-$210 per ha. But $250 per ha is too much. Locally, fertilisers are determined by the US and Canadian exchange rate. Half the fertiliser used is liquid, half is solid. Inventories are kept low, for fear of being caught overstocked. Freight rates are high. Broccoli rotates with potatoes, barley, oats, wheat, rye, and soybeans. All are 70-120 day varieties and the growing season is only 120 days after which snow dominates the long winters. Planting is in April and May, harvesting is from July to November with the earliest ground

The family also operates in Florida, where harvest runs from December to April, complementing the Maine operation.


Greg Hemphill is a fifth generation operator running four farms. He owns 280 ha and leases 80 ha, and grows potatoes for seed on the farm we visited; 80 ha of potatoes and 80 ha of oats. In the 1990s, he was producing 28 t/ha. Now it is 33.6-39.2 t/ha, a 20-40 per cent increase. Greg has used the AlbrechtKinsey system for six years and has noticed Emily Smith takes us through the difficulties of quality improvements as well. He spends growing broccoli at Presque Isle in Maine. between $4000 and $5000/ha on fertiliser, and reports his customers are very happy with the results they get. providing the greatest weed chalIn his first year, Greg divided a lenges. 10 ha field into three parts, onePresque Isle is almost in Canada the usual, two-Albrecht-Kinsey, but is still only 12 hours away and a third different brew. The from New York. The Californian best result was the Albrechtcompetition is five days away. Kinsey system as recommended However, California can produce by Alan. Some of the quality twice the yield and raise crops all differences were better storage year round. The underlying rock is characteristics and elimination of granite, and stones litter the fields. hollow-heart. Rainfall is 900mm, snow is a furGreg’s oats also showed marked ther three metres. Irrigation is used improvement, increasing by 60 where possible to augment the rain. per cent from 1900 kg/ha to The Smiths run 25 labour units 3050 kg/ha. The bushel weight plus 70 Californian migrants for for oats is 34lbs, with the worst harvest. weight being 12lbs. Greg’s weigh 37lbs and The migrants from the Salinas Valley bring are sold to Quaker Oats to be used in flour, their own cooks and pay them themselves. baking and porridge. Last year was a bad year Food safety issues are the same as in New Zeawith his neighbours’ yields suffering. Greg still land. Broccoli yields 9000-11,000 kg/ha and harvested 3050 kg/ha. is sold in 9 kg bar-coded waxed cartons. Data The soil has improved and is still improving. captured includes the grower, lot, date, time etc. Just the stickers required by the regulations This year is a dry year, but it has still held its moisture. Yield is the sum of plants per hectare, have added $50,000 per year to costs. An ice the numbers of tubers per plant, and the size of unit costs $650,000. It is not worth selling at each tuber. Potassium drives this equation, so below $7 a carton.

BASE SATURATION PERCENT Calcium (60 to 70%) Magnesium (10 to 20%) Potassium (2 to 5%) Sodium (.5 to 3%) Other Bases (Variable)



the correct amount of K to be applied according to the soil test is critical to success. Part of this success is mounding just once, at 40-50 days after planting. One of Greg’s soil tests on a newly-leased block looks similar to a New Zealand one, with the exception of high copper. The soil needs inputs of nitrogen, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, potassium, boron, manganese and zinc, but no phosphate. This field will be going into grain followed by potatoes.


Mike has a 400 ha property with barley, oats, alfalfa and rape for seed. Rapeseed oil, aka canola, usually yields 4.5 t/ha. Mike was doing half of that before Alan introduced him to the Albrecht-Kinsey method. “The land has been farmed pretty hard over the last 50 years, with crop yields declining.” Under Alan’s guidance, Mike tried the Albrecht-Kinsey way of fertilising the soil. The first thing he noticed was the weight, quality numbers and storage ability all improved. At a time when the number of potato buyers is decreasing and costs of growing are increasing, this is a welcome turnaround. Mike’s uncle, Don was also experiencing declining yields and started on the AlbrechtKinsey programme, getting an improvement in quality, quantity and a lower per-unit cost, all adding up to a 30 per cent profitability gain. The TEC of the soils here is five-11 and lime comes from Canada. With a copper mine nearby, soils are naturally high in copper, and the best yields also have high manganese. The family has also noted an extra 2 t/ha gain in yield by using biological additives. Don showed us a paddock of oats he was growing. “Best I have grown for a while. This is how we used to grow grain. The grain in this county is junk.” Don’s 28 ha field of oats was set to produce 2.7t, with even better improvement to come next year.


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Thumbs-up for forest levy The New Zealand forestry industry looks set to introduce a levy on harvested forest products next year now that 80 per cent of the industry has given support to the proposal.

when the votes were weighted by area, with 947,762.71 hectare (86.3 per cent) in favour and 149,926.91 ha (13.7 per cent) opposed. Geoff says having identical percentages for voters and area was “simply a fluke”. Under the Commodity Levies Act, for the levy to proceed it must have the support by “We have been given the thumbs-up to number and by area of more than 50 per cent introduce a funding system that of those forest owners who will provide greater certainty, voted. equity and commitment for The trust believes activities that benefit all the turnout was those who will be growers, such as research, about 15 per cent paying the vast promotion and forest of an estimated majority of the health,” says Forest 4000 eligible Growers Levy Trust voters. Their levy are strongly in chair Geoff Thompson. votes represented favour of it “At this stage, we expect more than twothe levy to be introduced on thirds of the eligible January 1, 2014.” forest area. The audited referendum results “This was quite a good reveal that 502 growers (86.3 per cent) turnout, compared with other recent primary voted yes and 80 (13.7 per cent) voted no. sector referenda. There was the same percentage of support “The key message is that those who will

be paying the vast majority of the levy are strongly in favour of it. This is the green light we had to see before we progressed any further. Now we can get on with groundwork and consultation that is still needed before we can ask the Minister for Primary Industries to put a levy order in place.” Assessing the turnout was complicated by the fact that only those forest owners who own a plantation forest 10 years or older in age, and at least four hectare in area, were eligible to vote. “Based on national age class statistics for forests, between 3095 and 5095 forest owners (a mean of 4000) could fall into this category. This is a generous estimate, given that only 350-400 forest owners harvest in any one year and that only 1838 forest owners are listed on the Ministry for Primary Industries national database. “We need to bear in mind that the owners of many small farm forests will not have been motivated to vote. Also positive votes have been received from some owners where a

single vote was for forests on many properties.” The month-long referendum was conducted for the trust by Research New Zealand, which has audited a random sample of votes, as well as the final results. Their audit report is posted on the Forest Voice website. Priorities for the trust include on-going communication with potential levy payers, further consultation with data collection agents, an application to the Minister for a levy order, trialling and implementation of the levy collection system, and a transition from the board that organised the referendum, to one representing levy payers. The ForestVoice website: www.forestvoice. will continue to update the forest industry on levy progress.

No word yet on return of hapu timber The final destination of the sawn A Waimana hapu is still waiting for the native timber was the Auckland timber return of $50,000 worth of timber held merchant ‘Rimu North by the Ministry for Primary Industries Shore’, who buy and sell native following a court case over its illegal milling. timber.” MPI regional compliance manager Greg Keys says no decision has yet been made regarding the timber, “given a legal process needs to be followed to identify the rightful owners of the timber and those that have a legal claim on it”. Greg says it is MPI’s position to ensure that these people’s rights are protected. “MPI is following correct protocols in this matter and an outcome will take some time to finalise. The timber has not been offered for sale to any parties, despite comments that have appeared in Coast & Country to the contrary. Interested parties will be notified by MPI when a decision has been made, and not before. “Comments made by Mr [Stuart] Neilson in your article of May, about his intentions for the timber are incorrect, as shown by the statement of facts provided to the court,” Greg says. Stuart was convicted and fined $30,000 for illegally milling native timber, and charges against his codefendant Bennett Hutchings where dismissed when Stuart pleaded guilty. On March 19, Judge John Woodhouse quashed the sentences against Stuart and reduced his fine from $30,000 to $10,000. In the first trial, Judge Robert Wolff recommended the seized timber be returned to the hapu. The statement made to the court in the first case by MPI says that: “between November 11, 2010 and November 11, 2011 defendants Stuart Nelson and Bennett Hutchings milled approximately 2.079m3 of matai and 15.244m3 of rimu from the Waimana area without approval of any kind on the defendant Neilson’s unregistered portable ‘Peterson’ sawmill. “The defendants also milled a quantity of totara on the sawmill, which was then used to build a stockyard on land belonging to the family of the defendant Bennett. Other rimu and matai had been milled and used for various purposes, including fence batons and roofing in the area. “Between September 2011 and November 2011 the defendant Neilson organised three separate loads of milled native timber to be picked up from the Matahi Valley Rd area to be delivered to Botica Timber Services in Auckland. “The third was on or around November 4, 2011 and involved the pick-up of six packets of milled rimu which was located and seized by forestry officers at a local transport company before it was delivered to Auckland. “Enquiries at Botica Timber Services in Auckland determined the timber transported to Auckland, on behalf of defendant Neilson, was only being dried and processed by them.

The court documents say that before the timber was seized, Stuart had offered a quantity of milled totara, rimu and matai for sale to a Wellington timber merchant; “but then advised him on October 5, 2011 that all the timber had been sold but he would be in touch when they had more rimu and matai. The defendant Neilson advised the informant that there was no paperwork”. The court statement says had an approval been sought to mill the timber it would not have been granted, “in this case, for the number of trees felled against the small number present in the forest where they were milled”. MPI estimated the seized timber is worth between $3000 and $3500 per cubic metre, making a total of approximately $52,000.

Stuart denies offering the timber for Bennett would get off and all I wanted was to resolve the matter and see the timber returned to the hapu,” sale and says the issue has become a says Stuart. stressful and time-consuming saga, By Elaine Fisher which he wants resolved with the return of the timber to the iwi. It began when Stuart lent his portable sawmill to long-time friend Bennett Hutchings to mill timber felled on privately-owned land at Waimana to construct buildings on their marae. “I told Bennett he could use the mill, but to be sure to get the right permits to process the timber,” says Stuart. Bennett didn’t get those permits and MPI became aware the trees had been felled, milled and timber was sent to Auckland to be dressed. “I had pleaded guilty to the charges in the first place, because the fact was my mill was used, even though I had nothing to do with the felling or milling of the timber. “I wasn’t even there and Bennett told the court that. I was probably wrongly advised, but at the time of the first case I understood that if I pleaded guilty,



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trades & services To list your rural event please email: with Rural Event in the subject heading.

Tuesday 4 June

Beef & Lamb NZ Farmer Roadshow Ruakura Science Day at Ruakura Research Centre, Hamilton. Many speakers including Australian futurist Paul Higgins – “How to deal with uncertainty & change in a volatile world.” A local farmer will link the science presented with on-farm practice. Registrations 9am for 10am start. Cost $30. Free bus. Ph Andrew Jolly 027 553 1226

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Thursday 6 June

StockSense Calving At Waipa 10.30am – 2pm. This DairyNZ workshop will be delivered by Waiariki Institute of Technology. To register ph 07 346 8657 or 07 346 8677

Wednesday 12 June

Fieldays June 12 – 15 at Mystery Creek Events Centre 125 Mystery Creek Road, Hamilton. In its 45th year, this four day event attracted more than 125,000 visitors in 2012, providing exhibiting businesses with the ultimate connection to faming customers – locally & internationally.

Tuesday 18 June

Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Design and Construction Course For contractors and designers of farm dairy effluent ponds. Taupo, June 18-20. For more information or to register visit www.

21 June 0800 382 828 Friday North Island Farm Supervisors Group FRE QUOTEE S! Card

A group open to people working in a senior management role within multiple dairy farm businesses. Issues specific to the role of supervising multiple farms are discussed and there is plenty of opportunity to compare experiences and suggestions in a confidential setting. For venue and other details ph Sharon Morrell 07 349 6825 or email:

Thursday 27 June

StockSense Calving At Tokoroa 10.30am – 2pm. This DairyNZ

workshop will be delivered by Dairy Training Limited. To register ph 0800 467 768 or email: murray.holt@ for information.

Saturday 29 June

The Green Living Show 2013 Go to for further details. The Green Living Show 2013 will push the boundaries of what individuals, businesses and government see as “possible” for New Zealand. Our event will create a sense of environmental urgency and belief that we could all make a big difference to our individual and collective wellbeing and sustainability. It will showcase the range of creative and responsible products, services and innovation already available and soon to be, which can help us all live a healthier lifestyle and achieve a healthier planet. There will also be seminars and workshops to educate and empower with practical tools and knowledge.

Wednesday 3 - 5 July

Federated Farmers 2013 National Conference. Federated Farmers 2013 National Conference is being held in Ashburton from Wednesday 03 – Friday 05 July 2013.

Friday 5 July

Te Puke Biz Grow At Kiwi 360, SH2, Te Puke 11am – 1.30pm. Developed for those who want to enhance their skills and career options. This session discusses 50/50 job opportunities. Ph Wilma foster 021 246 2147 or email:

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COAST & COUNTRY Before and after. The house at Tanners Point, once brown with a green roof, is now pristine white.

Award-winning transformation... Tahnee and Matt Semple were captivated by the water views, natural light and positive ambience of the home they bought at Tanners Point near Katikati in 2010. The couple, who were expecting their first child and had moved from city life in Australia to the semi-rural harbour-side settlement, also saw the potential to put their own stamp on the mid 1970s home. The couple was so successful in transforming their home both inside and out, that it won the 2012 Master Builders Renovation of the Year Silver Award for builder Adam Knight of Waihi. “We wanted to work with local professionals and it was important to us that Adam was a member of the Master Builders Association, and that he shared our contemporary

ideas and was willing to work closely with us, making changes during the project,” says Matt. Architectural designer Bruce Farr also met the couple’s brief to design the alterations they wanted –and it was Tahnee who planned the interior design to complete the project. “From the first time I saw it, I loved the fact the home had lots of northfacing windows and that it felt close to nature. I wanted to plan an interior that complemented and balanced those aspects,” says Tahnee. And she did. The walls are white, the floor authentic American oak and the well-appointed kitchen has Ceasarstone benches. Mirrors on one wall in the kitchen reflect the views across the inner harbour, capturing the changing play of light. Another major transformation has been the master bedroom which now has walk-through wardrobes and a

...for harbour-side home

fully tiled bathroom complete with sauna, linked by a concealed path to a spa on the deck overlooking the water. A spacious fourth bedroom or rumpus room has been created in what was a downstairs workshop. Two solid fuel wood burners keep the home cosy in winter and wide opening doors ensure it is cool during summer. The original three-bedroom home had stained cedar weather boards and a green, steep-pitched roof. Today, the exterior is pristine white and the previous verandas have been replaced by extensive glass balustrade decks, which lead from the open-plan living area to the garden. The 1567m2 section, which runs right to the water’s edge, is fully fenced on its upper level for privacy and security. “We wanted to ensure the

freedom and security of our daughter Indigo and our two dogs.” There are two attractive outdoor living areas in the garden, both placed to enjoy the sun and views of the inner Tauranga Harbour. Matt and Tahnee intended the Moana Drive house to be their home for many years to come, but the opportunity to establish a solar sales and installation company in Australia means they have reluctantly decided to sell and move to Bondi Beach. “Even though we know Indi won’t remember her time here, this has been a wonderful home for her first two years and Matt and I have learned a lot about ourselves and each other during this project which has created a home we really love,” says Tahnee. For more information go to

Page 71


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Pictures and details can be emailed (high resolution jpgs) to “Country Camera” or posted to Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga. Please include a name, address and phone number with every entry.

EXCEPTIONAL VALUE SHOWHOME LOCATIONS... 1115 CAMERON ROAD OAD TAURANGA URANG GA GA Open Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm Sun 11am to 4pm m Call Carol, Tom or Paul 07 577 9934 934

GOLDEN SANDS PAPAMOA Cnr Golden Sands Drive & Kapuka Street Open Sat to Wed 11am to 4pm Call Brendyn 07 929 7682

Ella(12) and Basil (15) check out the view from our walnut tree. From Jen Reaney.

THE LAKES TAURANGA 10 Bracken Mews, Off Lakes Boulevard Open Sun to Thurs 11am to 4pm Call Kerry 07 578 5363

Lucy and Ethan Hemingway 3 & 7 fun on the farm.



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ROTORUA 261 Te Ngae Road, Rotorua Open Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm Call Paull 07 345 3077

Jackie (right) and Amelia (left) Sneddon in the pumpkins grown for the Waotu District Growing Competition early April 2013. The funds raised help the Waotu-Puketurua Playcentre which is the historic building in the background. Mt Maungatautari is on the horizon. Sent in by Rebecca Sneddon.

Study hard and help dad, Joanne and Johanna of Onewhero, Auckland.


Coast & Country, June 2013