Whenua Kura rōpū visit the Eyrewell dairy farm

A rōpū of Lincoln University staff and potential Whenua Kura students recently visited the Eyrewell dairy farm to learn more about Ngāi Tahu Farming’s operations.

NgaiTahu Farms 10Dec2013DA006Ngāi Tahu Farming development manager Glen Clayton led the kōrero on board the bus.

“It was an opportunity to talk to potential students and the staff from Lincoln about what makes our farms different. We explained some of the best practice technology we are using and research we are carrying out to ensure we are doing our best to uphold the values of Ngāi Tahu.”

Whenua Kura is an educational initiative between Ngāi Tahu Farming, Lincoln University and Te Tapuae o Rehua, which aims to increase the number of Māori working on Ngāi Tahu farms and support them into leadership roles.

NgaiTahu Farms 10Dec2013DA011Keith Churcher (Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki) used to be a fisherman and is now a painter weighing up his next career change. He travelled from Nelson to take part on the tour.

“I have always had this thing in the back of my head, an inkling. I have watched people make a lot of money out of milk solids and I want to be on board that waka.”

Keith hopes to begin study next year so he can start to work his way up to a management position.

“I will start out as a dairy assistant, work hard, listen and focus on the bigger picture.”

To finish the tour, the rōpū were called onto Tuahiwi Marae to hear the Mana Whenua Working Party’s aspirations.

Whenua Kura rōpū walking onto Tuahiwi Marae

The Mana Whenua Working Party is made up of members of Ngāi Tahu hapū who hold mana whenua over the Hurunui and Waimakariri catchments associated with Ngāi Tahu Farming’s Eyrewell and Balmoral developments.

The working party was established to advise on the cultural, environmental and social aspects of the farms. They worked with Ngāi Tahu Farming to identify ways that give effect to cultural values in Ngāi Tahu Farming’s rural developments.

Creating pathways for Māori to enter the rural workforce and work on Ngāi Tahu farms was identified as a key way to uphold cultural values.

Eruera Tarena from Te Tapuae o Rehua says it is important that future Māori staff and students of Whenua Kura hear directly from mana whenua.

“The kōrero helped staff and students understand why it is important to uphold the values of Ngāi Tahu on Eyrewell farm.”

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