Business Central December 2021

| 35 REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Maungahina Stud Born with a natural passion for farming Richard Loader Mark and daughter Molly McKenzie. W hen Mark McKenzie was four years old, he bolted from the family farmhouse and headed straight for the main sire paddock, where his father found him happily scratching the head of a very large Hereford bull. So when Mark talks about his passion for farming he says he was born with it, that it’s just in the blood. “You have to want to do it,” says Mark. “It’s not an easy industry to be in and my daughter Molly is the same, she’s keen. She can work cattle, I can see the potential in her but she just needs to learn other skills too which is important with technology coming through.” Mark farm’s Maungahina, a 607-hectare sheep and beef property on the Castle- point-Riversdale road, just out of Masterton, that has been in the McKenzie family since 1899. It is also home to the Maungahina Hereford Stud that was founded in 1906 — so there is a lot of heritage on this beautiful land. When Mark left school his father Bruce told him that before he could work on the farm he had to learn the business of farming and ‘varsity’ wasn’t an option. Two years working cattle on big stations in remote areas of Australia was followed with showing cattle in England and South Africa, along with driving tractors in Wales, before Bruce issued an SOS. “He said I need you back. That was in the early ‘90s and dad and I worked very closely together, we were very good mates. I brought back the skills I learned while overseas that we didn’t have here, and I learned a lot of skills off Bruce because he’s a world-renowned cattleman.” Maungahina is a breeding property, calving down 350 Hereford and Speckle Park cows, and is also home to 95 yearling bulls and 900 ewes. Besides Maungahina the McKenzie family have two other Wairarapa farms, with all three farms run together as one. There’s a 40-hectare bull block under irriga- tion a little closer to Masterton, which is now Bruce’s domain. Rising two-year old Hereford and Speckle Park bulls go under auction at an on-farm sale in June every year. About 60 bulls went through the sale this year and despite droughts and Covid Mark was very pleased with the result. A second on-farm auction is held in Septem- ber for yearling bulls and this year about 80 will be on offer. The auction has been going for the last 76 years making Maungahina the oldest on-farm auction sale in Australasia. Over the last five years Speckle Park has become a big part of Maungahina’s business. “We first saw them thirteen years ago in Canada and brought them into the country to challenge ourselves and try a new breed. “When we first brought the breed in I gave semen away to the dairy industry, having no idea that it would perform the way that it has. This year we are thinking it will be the Number two AB breed in New Zealand.” And there’s 202-hectares on the foothills of the Tararua Ranges that is home to the farm’s drystock, including young stock. That property is run intensively to gauge what genetics works and what doesn’t, with the top performers finding their way to Maun- gahina to run with the rest of the breeding stock. Mark has had management responsibility for all three farms for the last 17 years but says the farming operation is only as good as the staff. “I place a lot of value on our staff and we look after them. Without good staff we would not survive. “In addition to my father and myself we have two very good men and a tractor driver. My wife Melissa is also a huge part of our farming operation.” • All Accounting & Taxation Services • Business Planning & Advice • Business Formations & Setup Member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Pete Amy Brian Crump PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH MAUNGAHINA STUD Phone 06 377 2211 / Fax 06 377 2214 Call Free 0800 377 223 / Bannister Street, Masterton Amy Kerr and Associates Limited ak a Proudly supporting the McKenzie family and Maungahina Stud by providing high quality reproduction services Tararua Breeding Centre - Part of Totally Vets Ltd ŹƒĞĀÏбĮƐ ŹååÚĞĻďƐ„ŤåÏбĮĞžƒž