On Farm Story

Wilson Mitchell, Taieri Plains 4:26

Wilson Mitchell is a young man on a mission. The University of Otago medical student is passionate about rural communities and the health and wellbeing of those who live there.

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Jono & Kayla Gardyne, Waikaka 5:22

An endless appetite for work is a feature of many young farming couples, but as we discovered, by any measure Southlanders Jono and Kayla Gardyne have shown an exceptional commitment to their futures – albeit in different areas.

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Blair Morris, Warkworth 4:57

A business that began in a field in Matakana has grown into a global operation with a sophisticated glasshouse enterprise producing seven million capsicums a year.

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Brent Lilley, Hahei 4:09

Farming next to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches is a blessing for Brent Lilley and as he told Gerald Piddock, he’s doing all he can to ensure his children will be able to enjoy them in the future as well.

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Jeff Niblett, Sherendon 3:29

Starting a business that’s a bit outside what might be viewed as conventional is always going to have its challenges, but New Zealand Game Birds owners Jeff Niblett and Bridgette Karetai have made it work for them.

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Scott & Simon Bishell, Marlborough 4:19

Innovating to advance is something that runs in the blood of those at Caythorpe Family Estate in Marlborough. The Bishell brothers are managing a business they hope will thrive for many generations to come.

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Sam & Sophie Hurley, Hunterville 4:40

Sam and Sophie Hurley had for a while been thinking about finding new avenues for their wool, and a couple of years ago they saw an opportunity.
Today, Honest Wolf-branded products are being bought by people across the country and around the world.

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Angela & Nick, Waipara Valley 3:40

A North Canterbury family has embraced permaculture to feed themselves and teach others how to do the same.

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Guy Bell, Hawke's Bay 3:08

Members of Guy Bell’s family have been farming in Hawke’s Bay for five generations, with his sons making it six.

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Lucy and Christo, Wairiri Valley 3:26

A Canterbury couple who make top quality buffalo cheese faced a tough time during the covid-19 lockdown but now that their market is back, it’s stronger than ever.

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Simon and Pip Todhunter, Kaikoura Coast 4:18

Simon and Pip Todhunter run a diversified farming-based business on the Kaikoura coast, which means they have plenty of balls in the air to keep an eye on.

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Pork & Ceri Hutchinson, Whangamōmona 4:23

Kohuratahi farmer Daniel ‘Pork’ Hutchinson spent many years working in the UK and parts of mainland Europe and Australia, but for him there’s nowhere better than the eastern Taranaki farm he grew up on.


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Grant McNaughton, North Otago 3:43

Grant McNaughton’s path to farm ownership did not follow the most orthodox route, but it worked. We visited the McNaughtons on The Dasher Station in North Otago.

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Sam Bunny, Rangitaiki Station 3:38

There's no such thing as small-scale at Rangitaiki Station.

The vast 9500-hectare property east of Taupo is Pamu’s largest farm on a stock unit basis, wintering 85,000 sheep, cattle and deer. The farm has made big environmental gains over the past few years, but there’s still work to do yet.

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Laura Douglas, Southland 4:37

Resilience is a liberally used term, but it certainly applies to Laura Douglas. The Southland woman has overcome her share of adversity. In this On Farm Story we discover she refuses to let it beat her dream and passion for agriculture and sharing that passion with other women.

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Tim & Monique Neeson, Tokirima 3:31

Ruapehu farmers Tim and Monique Neeson, who farm at the end of a no-exit gravel road in Tokirima on the Forgotten World Highway between Whangamomona and Taumarunui, say they are aware that others of their generation have found it difficult to achieve what they have – become farm owners.

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George Whitelock, Linton 3:47

A former international rugby player who once played for the All Blacks, decided to end his stellar career and hang his boots to return to his farming roots.

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James Annabell, Taranaki 3:42

When James Annabell’s budding rugby career wasn’t quite going the way he hoped the former Taranaki Bulls hooker put his drive into honey, which has led to the development of a multimillion dollar business.

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Peter Brice, Auckland City 3:37

It's not easy being a farmer at the best of times but when you are surrounded by townies who just have to look over their back fences to see what you’re up to it is even more important to get it right.

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Lis Giesen, Waituna West 3:58

Farming, farming and community – that’s what life is all about for Lis Giesen. Not only is she passionate about the farm she and husband George run and the stock that come off it, she loves the community the family lives in, the expanding beekeeping and honey sideline named after her children and the knowledge and enthusiasm gained from it being passed on to pupils at the local school.

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Becs Mahoney, Tararua 3:31

Two-time women’s Rugby World Cup winner Bex Mahoney is these days putting her energy into running a Tararua farming business with her husband Luke but she’s also breaking new ground on the rugby field. There are synergies between the two.

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Daniel Absolom, Napier 3:14

The Absolom family farm has the next generation in mind. They want their Hawke’s Bay property to be with their family in at least 100 years so take a long-term approach to everything they do.

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Lee Askew, Waimata Valley 4:16

Most people hanker for the good life one way or another. Lee Askew’s interest in self-sufficiency and small-scale livestock farming was inspired by the 1970s television series of the same name. Her dream has turned into reality on the far side of the world from where she grew up.

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Chelsea Smith, Honikiwi 3:24

Waikato dairy farmer and Dairy Women’s Network regional leader Chelsea Smith is not afraid to take on new challenges that not only test her both mentally and physically but help in her leadership role.

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Marc Robertson, Mimihau 3:35

It might be dismissed as a cliche but the adage that an apple never falls far from the tree is applicable to the Robertson family from Southland.

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Mihaka Beckham, Mihi 3:21

Mihaka Beckham dreamed of working the land and being a dairy farmer. With the help of a few mentors and a lot of hard work he's turned that dream into a reality and has recently been promoted from Dairy Farm Assistant to Herd Manager at Mihi Farms.

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Lisa Portas, Palliser Ridge 4:09

For farming stories to truly connect with an urban audience they not only have to be told well, they need to be authentic and that means they have to come from farmers themselves, Wairarapa farmer Lisa Portas says. If that’s going to work farmers need to become more comfortable being their own narrators and not be afraid to use a range of channels from social media to open days to encourage a wider understanding of agricultural industries, the people involved, the processes and the reasons why decisions are made.

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Ella Wharmby, Matamata 3:34

As the saying goes, you can’t fully understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. And if you swapped the shoes for gumboots, Waikato farmer Ella Wharmby could tell you a thing or two about that.

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Niamh Barnett, Akitio 3:46

A six-generation family history in stud breeding and a love of cows bodes well for the farming future of Tararua’s Niamh Barnett.

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Patrick Malley, Maungatapere 3:37

Pioneering pathways in hydroponic growing of soft berries in Northland have taken the Malley family’s horticultural business a long way from where it started only eight years ago.

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Sandra Matthews, Rere 3:44

Successful farming partnerships are built around a connection between the land and those who work it and for Sandra Matthews that means ensuring women know they belong on farms and have important roles to play.

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Mark Olsen, Kairanga 3:21

Kairanga dairy farmer and multi-sport enthusiast Mark Olsen is passionate about the positive effects exercise can have on a rural lifestyle. We caught up with him to talk about his farming operation and the part sport has played in ensuring he enjoys what he does.

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Jo Hay, Herbert 3:34

Ross and Jo Hay are typical of thousands of young farming couples who work hard and continually search for a chance to grow and get ahead.

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Rob & Mary Andrews, Ruatoria 4:07

East Cape farmers Rob and Mary Andrews appreciate the opportunities they have been given by people who they have worked for in the past and they enjoy returning the favour to others.

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Ben & Libby Tosswill, Birch Hill Station 3:49

Working the land is a challenging business at the best of times and for Central Hawke’s Bay farmers Ben and Libby Tosswill it’s important to focus on what they can change and try not to lose too much sleep over what they can’t.

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Reza Abdul-Jabbar, Southland 3:33

"Being a muslim and a farmer is the best of both worlds."

Reza and his family are not only helping the environment but also opening minds and hearts in the wake of the Christchurch Mosque shootings.

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David & Kate Acland, Mt Somers 4:10

Driving their business to grow and intensify while keeping true to their farming values for Mt Somers Station is a challenge for David and Kate Acland who are also heavily involved in both their local community and wider industry groups.

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James Greer, Argyle East 2:53

A Central Hawke’s Bay family farm is combining bulls and Wagyu steers to make the most of its climate and the most of its family asset. They not only know what they are doing on-farm but also know the supply chain from end to end so can tick all the boxes expected of them.

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Mike Porter, Lyalldale 3:29

Mike Porter is a considered man. His views and actions are more than opinions formed from spending too many hours behind the wheel of a tractor on his South Canterbury arable farm.

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Nicola Blowey, Fairlie 3:51

Being a foreigner in a strange land is no barrier to progression in the dairy industry for one young woman from England.

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Hamish Guild, Rakaia Gorge 3:42

Four families working together presents challenges but equally it’s provided disproportionate opportunities for the Guild clan on High Peak Station, farm operations manager Hamish Guild says.

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George & Luce Williams, Grassendale Wairarapa 4:14

Hard work, careful planning and a strong business focus helped George and Luce Williams win the 2019 Wairarapa Sheep and Beef Farm Business of the Year Award, but the Tinui couple say it’s been a team effort.

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Maurice Judson, Awamungu 4:04

The topography of The Ranch in south Otago is steep to rolling hill country but it is managed and performs like an intensive breeding and finishing farm. Farm managers Maurice and Renee Judson say much of the performance comes down to decisions based on science and data.

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Nate Smith, Bluff 4:02

The desire to remove the ticket-clipping middlemen is not confined to dairy and meat farmers wanting to get closer to their markets and earn higher prices. It is a path being followed by Bluff fisherman Nate Smith but, he has another motive for supplying fish direct to customers.

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Tangaroa Walker, Southland 4:12

Media sensation Tangaroa Walker has X-factor in spades and he wants to use it to lift other farmers out of the mire.

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Jane Smith, Five Forks 3:59

Blair and Jane Smith freely admit to having their share of good fortune as they embark on their farming careers but that doesn’t mean they are resting on their laurels.

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Johnie McFadzean, Wairarapa 2:52

The McFadzean name is well known to farmers looking for top-quality weaners but the family is now turning its attention to producing affordable yearling bulls based on top-of-the-line genetics.

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David and Rebekah Kelly, Waiau 4:05

Post Kaikoura earthquake the Kelly family are ready for anything.

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Ben and Renee Riley, Rockville 3:30

Golden Bay dairy farmers Ben and Renee Riley are proving a small farm can offer big payback.

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John Elliot, Maniototo 3:24

The Styx Valley is in a remote southern corner of the Maniototo basin in Central Otago where the seasons can be harsh. But that isn’t stopping John and Susan Elliot from running an innovative whisky distillery alongside their farm.

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Kathryne Easton, Te Kao 4:19

Running a big station with 3500 owners is a big challenge. But Parengarega Station’s new farm manger Kathryne Easton is adding to the task, with her vision of staring with the environment then working back to the farm with her best-use-of-land philosophy at the same time as coping with pest, pasture and weather issues.

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Roger Beattie, Lansdowne Valley 4:25

On the south side of Banks Peninsula, where the wind gives the tussocks a permanent bend and the next stop is Antarctica, Roger Beattie is mustering his next big plan.

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Amanda Henderson, Kairuru 3:19

Kairuru farmer Amanda Henderson says there’s a whole lot more to farming than picking a paddock and putting some animals in it.

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Wayne Langford, Takaka 3:21

The Langfords were hit by a perfect storm of terrible weather, prolonged market weakness and global trade wars. But a change in perspective has transformed their farm, their family and their community.

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Jenni Ridd, Cheltenham 3:19

Getting in on the ground floor of a new industry can have its challenges but as hemp growers Jenni and John Ridd told Colin Williscroft, that’s all part of the learning process.

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Logan Massie, Dannevirke 3:34

When Logan Massie finished school he followed his dream and headed to Europe where he lived and breathed showjumping for a few years. These days he’s back working on the family farm but, as Colin Williscroft found, he hasn’t given up on returning to Europe to ride.

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Jacqui and Dan Cottrell, Moawhango 3:22

A liking for a particular food on a foreign trip is paying dividends for Dan and Jacqui Cottrell and providing extra income for their Taihape farm.

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Guy and Jaye Bakewell, Wellsford 3:41

Northland sharemilkers Guy and Jaye Bakewell’s number-eight wire ingenuity is not only helping pay off their dairy cows faster but capitalising on consumers’ growing demand for raw milk.

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Greg Hart, Elsthorpe 3:43

Hawke’s Bay farmers Greg and Rachel Hart are committed to producing top-quality food by using nature as a guide while re-establishing a connection between people and the land that sustains them.

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Felicity Cameron, Matangi 2:51

The business of milking sheep is all about happy, skipping and jumping sheep for Felicity Cameron and at her Waikato dairy the welfare of her sheep seems to be paying off.

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Mairi Whittle, Moawhango 3:30

Bring on the tough challenges

Being the boss isn’t easy and it’s even harder going solo on tough hill country prone to long, cold winters and dry summers. But for Taihape farmer Mairi Whittle it’s her dream come true.

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Brian Yates, Karaka 3:18

Auckland farmers David Yates and son Brian enjoy reaping the benefits of a robotic milking system.

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Sarah Gilbertson, Waituna West 3:10

Setting up a tourism venture on a farm not only provides a second income but also acts as a public relations exercise to help bridge the rural-urban divide. And when it includes luxury glamping and breathtaking views the visitors cannot fail to be impressed.

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Warrick James, Selwyn Gorge 2:47

When people think of farming, few think of carbon farming. But Canterbury farmers Warrick and CeCe James are using agriculture to feed people and fight climate change.

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Mark Guscott, Martinborough 3:19

Glen Eden farm is a busy place. Mark and Susannah Guscott, the owners of the South Wairarapa property, have fingers in multiple pies and for good measure are about to open tourist accommodation.

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Gary Wilson, Hinds 2:50

Mid Canterbury mixed arable farmers Gary and Rae Wilson are embracing modern technology to make farming their property more productive and more environmentally sustainable.

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Don and Kirsten Watson, South Head Kaipara 3:10

A farm journey for a Northland couple has been full of ups and downs but one event in particular led them to push themselves to not just move but to forge ahead and buy their own farm.

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James Bowan, Orari 2:47

James Bowan grows potatoes for a nationwide paddock-to-packet potato chip brand. Nearly a decade after the business started he’s still happiest in the paddock.

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Molly Gardner, Le Bons Bay 3:14

From teaching children to farming alpacas. One Cantabrian’s career path is beyond compare.

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Harry de Lautour, Flemington 2:58

Central Hawke’s Bay farmers Harry and Kate de Lautour are dedicated to bloodline but it isn’t just about their ancestry.

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Chris Guy, Karaka 2:43

When New Zealanders think of Auckland few think of farming. But a young Karaka dairying couple are combining their love of the city with their passion for the land.

Jimmy Glenn, Te Akau 3:18

Bulls, ewes and tepees. Sheep and beef farmers James and Sarah Glenn are fuelling the intergenerational transfer of their farming business with a rare mix of bulls, sheep and tepees.

Dawn Bendall, Uruti 2:53

Taranaki duck farmers Dawn and Glen Bendall are earning a living out of making people, including themselves, healthier.

Hugh Taylor, The Doone 2:31

A rising carbon price under the Emissions Trading Scheme has changed a Canterbury sheep farmer’s attitude to exotic forestry and native regrowth.

Trish Rankin, Kaupokonui 3:11

When Glen and Trish Rankin entered the Dairy Industry Awards one of the things they looked forward to was the feedback from judges. However, when it came, it wasn't what they expected.

Tom Whitford, Waikaretu 2:40

Northwest Waikato sheep and beef farmers Tom and Nicole Whitford never planned on working in the primary sector but today the couple are dedicated to the intergenerational transfer of a farming business.

Kate Broadbent, Waikaretu 2:52

Waikaretu Valley sheep and beef farmer Kate Broadbent is committed to improving the odds for New Zealand sheep farmers against natural hazards.

Simon Osborne, Leeston 2:28

Regenerative agriculture flies in the face of conventional farming wisdom with soil management the key to profiting from nature, Canterbury cropping farmer Simon Osborne says. We visited him onfarm to learn what it’s about.

Dan Shand, Island Hills 2:34

It’s tough, rough country but Island Hills Station owners Dan and Mandy Shand are passionate farmers and innovative in their diversification to achieve financial sustainability.

Eugene and Pania King, Motu 2:55

Sheep and beef farmers Eugene and Pania King from Kiriroa Station at Matawai are combining their passion for the land with hard work and whanau support.
The couple have a longstanding connection with their family, their environment and their local community.

Tony Eade, Foxton Beach 2:12

Foxton Beach man Tony Eade has a volatile mix when it comes to his jobs but manages to successfully combine volunteer firefighting and milking.

Richard Scholefield, Whangara 2:28

Maori Incorporations in farming represent a new wave of land development and export earnings. Whangara Farms is on the East Coast north of Gisborne, in Whale Rider (Paikea) country and is a successful hapu partnership model for a sustainable future while honouring the place and the past.

Sarah Wells, Moawhango 2:21

Intergenerational knowledge has long been a sort of secret ingredient to success in sheep and beef farming in New Zealand. Though that component was vital in the early years of Tom and Sarah Wells farming careers they are also using their passion, drive and determination to forge their own brand of sustainably farmed products.

Sophie Barnes, Taumarunui 2:55

As a teenager Sophie Barnes decided she wanted to be a very good sheep farmer. Then she heard the best sheep farmers weren’t in her native Britain but on the other side of the world. Undaunted, she sold up, packed up and came to New Zealand.

Olin Greenan, Morrinsville 2:44

Having a young family has changed a Waikato farming couple’s entire outlook on life. Olin and Anna Greenan who are 50-50 sharemilkers on a 650-cow farm at Morrinsville say achieving a good work-life balance has become even more important to them now they have sons Jack, 4, and Noah, 2.

Jason Smith, Kaipara 2:28

Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith wants to bring kiwi back to 47ha of regenerating native bush on Greenhill (Rehia) overlooking Ruawai in Northland. He owns the 430ha farm Greenhill in which the reserve is the centre and embodies a blend of history, family, farming and community service.

Genna and Alistair Bird, Ashley Gorge 2:32

South Island couple Genna and Alistair Bird have opened a door to a world of people wanting to soak up a panoramic view from their Tiny House on a hill.

Charlie Duncan, Hunterville 2:33

The Duncan, Perry and Howard families have a long connection with farming. They were instrumental in setting up Smedley, Taratahi and Massey University and the latest generation is doing it again with a group of farms in Rangitikei, particularly Otiwhiti and Westoe, providing a start on the land for cadets from all round the country.

Dan and Gina Duncan, Pouto 2:57

Dan and Gina Duncan feel like they moved from the end of the Earth to Invercargill last May to attend the 2018 Dairy Industry Awards where they came away with the Share Farmers of the Year title.

Cam Henderson, Oxford 3:00

This week we are down in Canterbury with Cam Henderson who grew up on a dairy farm in Waikato and decided dairy farming wasn't for him - fast forward a few years and he saw a new light in the industry.

Richard Cookson, Springdale 2:49

Richard Cookson and his wife Louise Cullen studied at Lincoln University but then went overseas for work at scientists rather than heading for the farm. However, 12 years ago they answered a call to return home and now run a cow and goat dairy unit.

Mike and Vicki Cottrell, Taihape 2:24

A desire not to be anchored to machinery led Mike and Vicki Cottrell to try something new. They headed for the hills and have spent a quarter-century running sheep and cattle on medium to steep back country near Taihape.

Hollie Wham and Owen Clegg, Manutahi 2:43

Hollie Wham and Owen Clegg are 50:50 sharemilkers who, despite achieving great things in the industry, give themselves little credit. Earlier this year they won the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year title. They also won the Honda Farm Safety and Health Award, Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award and the Westpac Business Performance Award.

Lisa Kendall, Karaka 3:02

Lisa Kendall reckons she does a little bit of everything when it comes to hiring out her skills for farm work. But she’s also a competitor, scholar, researcher and consultant and is a passionate champion of animal welfare who wants to work toward farm ownership. And though she’s starting with a small sheep milk venture she already has ideas about diversification into cheese and a cafe.

David Kidd, Shelly Beach 2:37

The Kidd family has expanded its farming interests in the Auckland province with the purchase of a medium-sized dairy farm and some adjacent leased land for grazing at Shelly Beach on the south Kaipara Head. Every day they are learning and trying to do something better than yesterday. With two young daughters it's his goal to make sure they also have the opportunity to do something with this land at some point in the future.

Rob Cashmore, Orere 2:32

Tourists and commuter traffic along with proximity to Auckland keep Rob and Rachel Cashmore aware of the scrutiny farming is under. Rob’s not backward at sticking up for farmers but is also conscious of his role in protecting the land and nature while farming commercially.

Jodie Heaps, Mataura 2:00

With three of the four partners living in the North Island, teamwork is the secret to success for the Southland farm judged the best dairy business in the land. On Farm Story visited MOBH Farm and talked with Manager Jodie Heaps.

John Foley, Island Cliff 2:10

The Foley's and their team in Island Cliff are forward thinking in their approach to their dairy business.
In 2013 the low milk price was not the ideal time for a multimillion dollar dairy conversion let alone one writing its own blueprint, but John and Ruby had a vision and a goal and they were determined to see it through.

Geff Cookson, Kawakawa 2:06

The Cookson family are at the true heart of Northland's beef finishing in Kawakawa and are consistently producing carcaseweight yield and financial results well above the provincial average. Their pursuit of knowledge from hosting trials and research projects energises the Cooksons and draws hundreds of farmers to their field days.

John Falconer, Maniototo 2:07

John Falconer a farmer who says he is benefiting from two generations of careful deer breeding, makes something of an understatement describing his Central Otago deer farm business as diverse.

Will Morrison, Rangitikei 2:16

Rangitikei sheep and beef farmer William Morrison has connected his hill-country farm to the world through social media with images of the breathtaking property a hit on Twitter. By looking to the future he’s building on his family’s 150 years on the land.