Ahuwhenua Trust invests in training for the future

5 May 2023

Investing in educating and its farming teams is all part of looking after the whenua and their people for future generations for Tiroa E and Te Hape B Trusts, which run four neighbouring sheep and beef properties just north of Pureora Forest Park.

Affiliated to Rereahu son of Raukawa, Tiroa E and Te Hape B Trusts own the following farming businesses; Tiroa Station, Wharekiri Station, Waipa Station and Te Awa Rua Farm in and around the Waipa Valley with Te Hape Station located across the road on State Highway 30 Benneydale.

A former Trust Board member for nine years, Wayne Fraser has been managing Tiroa Station for 13 years. His own positive experience of completing the New Zealand Diploma in Agriculture in 2007, alongside another Trust farm manager, prompted the Trusts to offer training opportunities to other team members.

“We also had a young Apprentice graduate then and that was a real buzz. We thought how do we inspire some of our young tamariki to be part of the learning and the farm in future?” says Wayne.

Since then the Trust has prioritised giving staff the opportunity to gain a qualification or tohu, with training opportunities part of the long-term plan for the people and the whenua.

“We always talk about our elders, who are not here to see the results of the hard work they put into our land. That foundation prepared us to take the next step, to provide education and understand the business.”

Currently there are five learners across the four blocks training towards Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga agriculture qualifications at various levels. The Trust has also invested in creating a learning space, complete with Wi-Fi, where learners gather to complete their work.

Training Adviser supports learners

Primary ITO Training Adviser Larissa Kipping supports the Trust learners. “Learning is part of the team culture and they have found gaining qualifications incredibly rewarding and beneficial for their knowledge, the team and their careers.”

Among the learners she supports is Turimanu Fraser, Wayne’s son, who returned to Aotearoa in 2022 after working overseas in Australia and beyond as a shearer for 15 years. Initially unsure about taking up study, Turimanu is one year into his sheep and beef qualification, New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture Meat and Fibre Level 3, and his goals are to lead staff and become a manager.

“The training has inspired him to aim for that. We ask our team ‘Where do you want to be in five years?’ and the training supports that approach,” says Wayne.

With a background in animal health, territory management and customer account management, Larissa enjoys combining her skills to support learners to meet their goals. “My role is to assist the employer and the learner with what they need and that also involves customising support to each learner.”

Primary ITO training advisers are in regular contact with learners to support their progress and meet with employers and learners at least four times a year to set the training plan. Learners who require additional support can access the learning support team or have a mentor to help them.

Learning programme validates skills

Wayne says the Primary ITO programmes are valuable and achievable for learners while they work full time. “The learning relates directly to what you are doing on farm and the learners gain confidence through having their skills validated. These programmes also allow for the fact that people also learn differently.”

He says through their classes, learners meet others who are at the same stage and this opens up further learning opportunities. “They will talk about something like soil testing, test the soils on their farm and take the results back to compare and discuss with others.”

Wayne also praises the support from Primary ITO training advisers and tutors and he recommends other sheep and beef farmers consider offering the programmes. “It is about educating people and giving them the opportunity to get a qualification, progress their career on the land and look at their goals for the future.”

Click here to see the range of sheep, beef and deer programmes available, or use the form below to get in touch.