28 Nov 2013

Ngati Porou taking steps to protect farmland

7:12 pm on 28 November 2013

Ngati Porou on the East Coast is taking steps to reduce the effects of drought on its farming business.

The iwi's operations suffered during a severe drought in 2012: money was lost and stock had to be sold.

At present, the tribe is almost totally reliant on a ryegrass and white clover-based system. However, it says without regular rainfall or irrigation, production will always be at risk.

It has started to make its land more tolerant to drought by introducing pasture plants that use water more efficiently.

Ngati Porou says those types of pasture are common in some of New Zealand's driest areas, such as Marlborough and the Maniatoto Plains in Central Otago.

The iwi says drought-proofing species are relatively new to the East Coast. Under the subsidiary Pakihiroa Farms, it has 2600 hectares of land, almost 9600 sheep and 1000 cows used for breeding.