Wednesday, 30 December 2020 14:55

NZ Veterans get a taste of farming at Taratahi

Written by  Staff Reporters
A group of veterans attended a workshop at Taratahi run by UCOL. Photo Credit: New Zealand Defence Force. A group of veterans attended a workshop at Taratahi run by UCOL. Photo Credit: New Zealand Defence Force.

Partnering with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), Universal College of Learning (UCOL) staff at Taratahi hosted New Zealand veterans on a week-long taster workshop.

Each day offered the veterans insights into what could be their next career option.

Simon Bailey, UCOL team leader - primary industires, says the group included veterans from the Navy, Army, and Air Force.

The veteran group started off at the training centre, where their first few days were filled with a range of farming activities - from milking cattle to fixing fences.

The lessons continued on to cover farming vehicles such as tractors, frontend loaders, quad bikes, an light utility vehicles (LUV). 

The group was taken through safety, maintenance, and pre-start checks as well as advice on how to drive them on various terrain.

"There's a pretty amazing view up the top of the farm which the group were lucky enough to see, you get the whole vista of the Wairarapa Valley stretching out in front of you from Mt Bruce in the north to Ocean Beach in the south," said Bailey.

The final day was spent introducing the group to the basics of apiculture (beekeeping). 

"This has been a hugely successful opportunity for both veterans and our team at Taratahi.

"It is always great when everyone learns something new. It has also shown how our training farm can help veterans, in exactly the spirit it was originally intended for," Bailey said.

Veteran Affairs project advisor Brett Te Wheoro says he was also pleased with the week's results.

"We had a mix of veterans of all ages, representing service from as far back as Malaya to recent deployments to Afghanistan," Te Wheoro said.

A mix of veterans from different areas of the armed forces and different conflicts were represented in the group.

He says there was something for everyone and the 'taster' aspect of the course meant that participants got to try out different types of farming and skills.

"A few of the veterans are already keen to come back for the longer beekeeping course," he said.

"We really appreciated that this course was put on for us - the staff at Taratahi went out of their way during our time here."

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