22 Apr 2015

Farming finalists a family success

3:56 pm on 22 April 2015

One of the three finalists for a major Maori farming award has opened its gates to visitors for a field day.

Bart and Nukuhia Hadfield

Bart and Nukuhia Hadfield Photo: Ahuwhenua Trophy

Mangaroa Station, about an hour inland from Wairoa, is a finalist in this year's Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori excellence in sheep and beef farming.

Owners Bart and Nukuhia Hadfield showed judges the farm and stock yesterday and are running the field day today.

Mr Hadfield said the history of how the couple came to own the station was a major part of their entry into the awards.

In 2001, they teamed up with Nukuhia's three siblings and their partners to buy Mangaroa Station, with all couples working towards eventually buying their own farms in the future.

"We were all working together docking at Nuku's family's farm and after docking we were having a few beers and we were all talking about how we could get bigger because the farm wasn't big enough to buy each other out," he said.

"Nuku and I had a farm of 3200 stocking units and the family farm was 3800, so we decided we should just pool our resources and get bigger and the goal was to get a farm each.

"We'd all worked together before in the shearing industry, we all backed each others' abilities, others had strengths in different parts and it made the whole thing work and, yeah, we had our ups and downs but we all got over it because we had the common goal.

"We all agreed to stay together for five years and the arrangement worked so well we said we'll give it another two and we did and it was the right time for everyone to exit."

Mangaroa Station

Mangaroa Station Photo: Ahuwhenua Trophy

In 2008, Bart and Nukuhia bought Mangaroa Station outright and now run more than 8000 ewes and hoggets and about 900 Angus cows.

Mr Hadfield said the field day was about showcasing their journey and property.

"The field day today is about coming to see about the Ahuwhenua Trophy, coming to our local marae and then coming up for a farm visit tour, talking about our three years production when we entered competition and just explaining what Mangaroa Station is all about and our journey too it, it's very important to us.

"We wouldn't have the last seven years if it wasn't for the first seven years. It's been a good 14-year journey and we'd just love to get that across."