14 Mar 2014

Farmer offers training for iwi members

8:16 am on 14 March 2014

A Maori farmer in Taranaki is running a training scheme to get more tribal descendants back home to manage its dairy operations.

The farm near Hawera, Te Rua o te Moko, is owned by four separate Maori trusts that have combined resources to create an economically and environmentally sustainable dairy farm. It is one of the three finalists in this year's Ahuwhenua Maori farming Excellence Awards.

Te Rua o te Moko chair Dion Maaka said his board had a clear vision for the future which included attracting its people to a rural lifestyle, and for more Maori farmers to aspire to management positions.

He said his board recognised the lack of capacity for its young people to work on farms.

Mr Maaka said the main barriers holding them back were lack of confidence and being unfamiliar with farming culture.

He said Te Rua o te Moko would like to think it was leading the way by starting its own farming school and it had been a hugely positive initiative in getting more iwi members back on the land.

Eight young people who whakapapa to the shareholders of the trusts will be getting trained this year.

The 170 hectare farm is into its fifth season and is producing 190,000 kilograms of milk solids a year. Te Rua o te Moko is holding its field day on Friday, when the public is welcome to inspect the farm.