The problems at Taratahi were laid open, prior to its interim liquidation in December, in August last year.
The 3368ha property, sold to Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc on May 17 and leased to Taratahi, had belonged to the Elworthy and Herrick families for 111 years.
Taratahi education delivery manager Nigel Udy said, “It’s an iconic property with a huge history. We are thrilled to be partnered with Ngati Kahungunu… a strategic alliance… with a significant iwi.”
Udy says Ngati Kahungunu Iwi and Taratahi share a vision to up-skill and educate the next generation to increase on-farm productivity for the sake of the national economy.
“Both organisations value and respect land as a critical foundation for the health and wealth of our society and are committed to ensuring the cultural importance of the land is respected.”
Ngati Kahungunu chairman Rangi Manuel says “Tautane is a magnificent piece of land to have purchased and our people have reacted joyously to this news. Given that they are a government backed entity, we were keen to have Taratahi on board. We are at the start of a journey and anticipate having a good relationship with them.”
Taratahi owns, manages or leases commercial dairy, sheep, beef and deer farms in Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Wairarapa.
Leasing Tautane creates the scale and size needed for training, while providing a farming and learning environment, says Udy. Students get real-life farming experience on Taratahi’s properties on a rotational basis.
“We are in the process of employing sufficient staff to manage the day to day operations of the property and to facilitate the training and learning that will be occurring on the farm.”
Udy estimates seven or more students would work and live at Tautane at any one time, for two weeks or longer. He expects the normal rotation of students going to Tautane would begin when staff began seeing to day-to-day needs. “Because it’s an older style, traditional property, the infrastructure to accommodate large groups is already in place.”
At this stage, it was hard to tell what changes Taratahi would make. “We are still learning about the property; it’s in good shape and we’ll be looking to carry on with its management and improve anywhere that we can. However, now that it is a training facility, there will obviously be some changes.
“30,000 stock units will keep the young farmers busy and give them an opportunity to learn by doing and reinforcing all the skills they’ve learned in a classroom environment.”