NZ Dairy Spring 2021

| 69 nz dairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Tataiwhetu Farms Starting fresh with less milking pays off Kelly Deeks I ntensive farming doesn’t provide a pathway to en- vironmental alignment for Tataiwhetu Trust, which runs an organic dairy farm near Whakatane on be- half of Ngai Tuhoe. Tuhoe has been farming this land in the Ruatoki Valley since 1921, when Sir Apirana Ngata came in with some fence posts and wire and subdivided the land into productive units with the intention of sustaining Tuhoe families. By the mid-1950s, the blocks weren’t meeting production expectations and Tuhoe families started to walk off the land to find more constructive em- ployment and income. The blocks were left desolate until 1986, when six Ngatirongo families agreed to combine their lands to form the Ngatirongo Trust Farm. Until 2009, the farm was run by a sharemilker, who milked 600 cows twice a day for 12 months of the year. Paki Nikora was appointed to the position of Trust Chair in 2009. “I stood back and looked at it for a while,” Paki says. “I’ve always believed in a common sense approach. I looked at the financial balance sheets and the figures didn’t stack up to the amount of inputs that were being poured into a lot of intensive farming. So I decided it was time for us to become stand alone. We put the sharemilker off, we got rid of the 600 cows, and we bought 400 in-calf heifers and started from scratch, milking once a day and back to seasonal milking. By the second year, we beat the previous sharemilker’s production.” He says it is just common sense. “You don’t look at the turnover, you look at the profit from what you’re doing. You can be the busiest, flat out farmer out there and still not make any money. We fine- tuned our systems and we proved by the second year it was working.” • to page 71 Minister Willie Jackson, Paki Nikora, Minister Meka Whaitiri and Ponty Hauwaho (priest). POOLS & SPAS FILTRATION WATER TRENCHING EFFLUENT MILKING Where are we? Steve, Llaurellee and the team are at 7 Gateway West, Whakatane O ice & Farming 24hr Service PH: 07 3070766 Email: BME Pools & Spas Email: www. b a y m i l k i n g . c o . n z Helping Farmers in the Bay Get some luxury in your life too! The team at Bay Milking would like to congratulate Tataiwhetu Farms