Country Life

Friday 12 September 2014, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith

The Wallaby Lady

i love wallabiesGwen and a blind joey called Charm (who is also in the photo below).

Bennett's Wallabies were first brought to the Waimate district in the 1870’s for sport and for the value of their skins and their descendants have been successfully breeding ever since.

Wallabies now occupy about 350,000 hectares of land in the Hunters Hills area of South Canterbury and have recently been found on the south side of the Waitaki River in North Otago.

They enjoy a diet of grasses, shrubs, small trees and can spread tuberculosis so farmers regularly commission hunters to shoot them.

Adult females are often shot while carrying a baby joey in their pouch. Joeys that survive this ordeal often end up in the arms of Gwen Dempster-Schouten, who has been hand raising orphaned joeys since 1977 and is known locally as the wallaby lady.

Currently Gwen has about 70 wallabies at EnkleDooVery Korna, her animated wallaby park on the outskirts of Waimate. When a hunter drops off a baby joey Gwen cares for it in her house, until its strong enough to be in an outdoor enclosure with all the other Wallabies.

Gwen says “It’s like raising a child in an incubator, every three hours night and day I have to feed them keep them warm keep them clean, toilet train them, cleanliness is next to godliness, every time you touch them you wash your hands before and after, because there so susceptible to disease.”

Visitors to EnkleDooVery Korna are supplied with a bag of wallaby snacks and instructions on how to befriend these likeable marsupials. A small admission fee helps to pay for food for the wallabies and all the other displaced birds and animals that have become part of Gwen’s extended family.

blind wall

Gwen feeding wallabies

Ruth Hone 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year

susan ruthRuth Hone is 24 years old and has her sights set firmly on farm ownership within the next 12 years. “I can’t wait. I’ve always wanted to be a farmer,” she says.

This effervescent winner of the 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year credits her mother’s enthusiasm for her own outlook on life and ability to fit a million things into one day.

Ruth’s the first female to win the title and as well as dairy farming, she’s into eventing and hunting, marathon running and is chair of the local Young Farmers Club.

There’s a simple answer to fitting so much into a day, “there are 24 hours aren’t there? I don’t sit down.”

The title came with $18,400.00 worth of prizes and Ruth says anyone with the right attitude will be successful. “Opportunities come to those who apply themselves.”

Dan Coop Deer Industry

CEO of Deer Industry New Zealand says the chilled venison trade to the USA is becoming more significant for New Zealand and the industry body is aiming to get venison into China, but it's starting in that market from scratch.

Regional Wrap

It's been very dry in Manawatu and Horowhenua, while lambing and calving is in full swing in the South where it's been warm and dry.