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1 June 2021

Canterbury Weather Event Update

Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the severe weather event in Canterbury and we are monitoring the situation closely to establish what support our customers and communities need and how we can assist. ‘Helping grow the country’ is our vision and is at the heart of what we do, and this is especially the case at times of challenge and adversity.

The Canterbury region and surrounding areas have experienced a significant flood event and the full impact of this may not be known until flood waters recede and assessments undertaken. That effort is getting underway as the rain has eased. In the meantime, all our stores remain open, and our staff will be contacting customers and getting on-farm where practicable and offering support. We have heard of heartening stories of neighbours and communities helping one another.

The Rural Support Trust teams are coordinating their response efforts in the rural areas and PGW will continue to liaise and assist where we are able to do so. The Trust is also available to provide support and advice and details can be found at

Both the Temuka and Canterbury Park livestock saleyards will remain closed this week as assessment of the roading infrastructure in the area is assessed.  As conditions allow, we hope that the calendared sales will recommence again soon and we will update the situation on our website.

Road and bridge closures have caused disruption to transport routes and damaged roads cause hazards for drivers, so please be cautious when driving. For our part, PGW will also be assessing the impacts that road closures will have on logistics and our supply chain. We are also in the process of assessing the immediate needs of our farmer customers as they look to address flood damage and implications for livestock etc.

PGW is committed to supporting our customers through this challenging period of damage assessment and the recovery phase. We continue to monitor the situation and we will work with customers to respond to any challenges that may emerge.

Further information on support available and information is available through the following:

For further information about how we can support you with your on-farm needs please contact your local PGW store or representative.


Related Articles

2021 Ahuwhenua Trophy Winner Announced

17 May 2021
The winner of this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori Dairy farm is Tataiwhetu Trust located in the Ruatoki Valley south of Whakatane.


The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor announced their success at the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards dinner in New Plymouth attended by 800 people including the Hon Willie Jackson, Hon Meka Whaitiri, Kiingi Tuheitia, other dignitaries, politicians, agribusiness leaders and whānau from all the finalists.


As the Minister presented the winners with the trophy there were scenes of great jubilation as Trust members and whānau came on stage to join in the celebrations.


Tataiwhetu Trust is an organic dairy farm on which run 432 kiwi cross cows and carry 188 replacement stock on their two support blocks. They milk once a day and their herd produces 129,140 kgMS.


The other finalists were:

Pouarua Farms, a large operation consisting of 4,600 cows run on nine separate farms located near the township of Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains, close to Thames. The 2,200ha platform is the largest single dairy platform in the Hauraki region producing approximately 1.65M kgMS.


Tunapahore B2A Incorporation, a 385 cow operation located at Hawai and Torere on State Highway 35 on the East Coast of the North Island. The milking platform is 132ha, with 385 cows producing 125,940 kgMS.


Kingi Smiler, Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, says the standard of all the finalists this year was particularly high and the judges had their work cut out to come up with a winner. He says the field days run by all the finalists were extremely good and showed the quality and depth of Māori dairy farming enterprises. Each finalist excelled and all are great role models for farmers.


“But in the end Tataiwhetu Trust were determined the winners and they and their staff are to be congratulated for this. Their farm is very special and is yet another example of our people working innovatively and hard and focusing on key strategic objectives. They join an illustrious alumni of past winners” says Kingi.


The Ahuwhenua Trophy is the most prestigious award for excellence in Māori farming and was inaugurated 88 years ago by the great Māori leader, Sir Apirana Ngata and the Governor General at the time, Lord Bledisloe. The objective was and still is to encourage Māori farmers to improve their land and their overall farming position with an emphasis on sustainability. On a three year rotational basis, the Trophy is competed for by Māori in the sheep and beef, horticulture, and dairy sectors. This year the competition is for dairy.


See more about PGG Wrightson's relationship with The Ahuwhenua Trophy here


Tataiwhetu Trust Profile


Ko Taiarahia te Maunga

Ko Te Taumata te Pa o Tūhoe-Pōtiki

Ko Ōhinemataroa te Awa

Ko Tauarau te Pa

Ko Rongokarae te Tipuna Whare

Ko Ngatirongo te Hapu

Ko Ngāi Tūhoe te Iwi

Ko Mataatua te Waka


In 1921 Sir Apirana Ngata held a Land Consolidation meeting on Tauarau Marae for over one month, with the view of sub-dividing the land into productive units to sustain the living requirements of Tūhoe families. Nine years later Lord Bledisloe, the then Governor General of New Zealand, visited Ruatoki to monitor the progress of this Consolidation Scheme.


In the mid-1950s it was recognised that the land blocks owned by the families were too small, plus locals were starting off with cull cows from European farmers and couldn’t meet production expectations. Tūhoe families walked off the land to seek more constructive employment and income from the Tasman Mill in Kawerau.


Between 1960 and 1980 the land was left desolate and our ancestors and parents strived to find the answer to fully utilise the land again. Finally in 1986 six Ngatirongo families agreed to combine their lands to form the Ngatirongo Trust Farm.


Nine blocks were aggregated A40B, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48C,50,74 giving a total start up area of 97.689ha with a usable dairy platform of 80ha. Successive adjoining land blocks were then leased to give a total dairy platform of 184ha.


Between 1986 and 2009 the initial development of the Ngatirongo Trust Farm was led by our kaumātua Frank Vercoe, with the assistance of a Farm Advisor and Sharemilker. The Sharemilker was milking up to 600 cows twice a day, supplying Fonterra 12 months of the year.


When our kaumātua resigned as Trust Chair in 2009, Paki Nikora was appointed into that position by the beneficiaries. He says after scrutinising the financial accounts over successive years, it was apparent that under the Sharemilker arrangement it wasn’t returning revenue expectations, plus the increase to 3.2 stock units per hectare wasn’t beneficial for our lands and environment, so they decided to become stand-alone operation.


The Trust then purchased 400 in calf kiwi cross heifers, milking once a day, and transitioned back to seasonal milking. The husband and wife staff employed by the previous Sharemilker were then employed by us to be our Farm Managers, and they excelled through Primary ITO Levels 1, 2, 3 & 4 through the next ten years of development.


Key facts:

  1. Stock: 432 kiwi cross cows, 100 R1yrs at our 50ha support block, 88 R2yrs at our 50ha support block
  2. System: seasonal milking and once a day since 2009
  3. Current stocking rate: 2.5/ha
  4. Production:129,140 kgMS
  5. Per cow production: 273 kgMS
  6. Production per ha: 694 kgMS
  7. Imported supplementary feed per cow: 0.8t/cow.
  8. Purchased Nitrogen Surplus: 12 kgN/ha.
  9. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 7,736 kgCO2e/ha


In 2010 the Trust received the Ballance Farm Environment Award for the creation of special places on the farm including the protection and enhancement of wetlands, landscape features and historical places. A year later in collaboration with Tūhoe Pūtaiao the Trust received the Green Ribbon Award for protecting biodiversity.


Because our name was Ngatirongo Trust Farm, there was a perception that all of Ngatirongo hapū were beneficiaries in our lands, but they were not. So in 2014 the name was changed to Tataiwhetu Trust, which means that the original six families are the only descendants of our ancestral lands. In the same year, the Trust was presented with the Fonterra Gold Grade Free Certificate in recognition of excellence for consistent supply of the highest quality milk.


In 2015 the Tataiwhetu Trust transitioned from convention milking to organic and is now fully certified by AsureQuality. In 2019 it received the Fonterra Organic certificate.


Contact: Paki Nikora, 07 312 9165; 027 289 2688 /


Livestock Report: Canterbury facing logistic challenges

04 June 2021

Listen right now as PGG Wrightson's Lower North Island livestock manager Steve Wilkinson joins The Country's Jamie Mackay to look at the livestock selling scene.

Livestock sales in the Canterbury region have been put on hold due to recent wet weather events.

Wilkinson said it had compromised access and logistics at this stage and the team were in a holding pattern until farmers could get their head around the situation.

The Wairarapa region had seen some rain that had got them green again ahead of winter.

Wilkinson added it was great to be able to "bank a bit of feed before winter really bites."

There was a strong interest in lambs recently. Wilkinson said there had been good margins for them.

Mackay queried the success of recent beef sales internationally, and Wilkinson said he anticipated good results with their upcoming two year old beef-bull sales.

The Taranaki region had been blessed with ideal conditions resulting in ideal livestock preparations and sales.

WorkSafe Profile: Joseph Watts - Driving awareness of health and safety in shearing industry

09 June 2021

This profile is part of a seven-part series from WorkSafe New Zealand sharing the health and safety approaches taken by the grand finalists of the 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition.  Joseph Watts, Technical Field Rep for PGG Wrightson, will represent East Coast in the national competition.

“Industry campaigns and growing professionalism are driving awareness of health and safety among shearers,” says Joseph. Yet, he still sees plenty of room for improvement.

Joseph began his rural career as a shearer, having completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise degree and then played squash professionally for several years.  He went on to gain a Graduate Diploma in Rural Studies from Massey University and is now a Technical Field Representative for PGG Wrightson as well as farming some beef cattle on a 30 acre site at Waipukurau, with his partner, vet Lucy Dowsett.

Even though he is no longer shearing full-time, Joseph still likes to keep his hand in, doing some shearing in his spare time and helping out mates and following shearing social media pages.

In 2018, Federated Farmers and the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, with support from ACC and WorkSafe, joined forces to implement the Tahi Ngātahi programme to improve safety and performance in the country’s woolsheds. Joseph says he has started to see the positive impact of the programme in the industry.

Having been a professional sportsperson, Joseph was always aware of the importance of eating well, keeping hydrated, warming up and doing stretches before physical work and taking steps to avoid sprains and strains.

Information about health, safety and wellbeing for people working in the sector, including techniques, stretching and strengthening and nutrition, is available through the Tahi Ngātahi website. Woolshed workers, farmers and shearing contractors can also sign up for online learning through the page – at

“There’s good information available and I’m seeing awareness growing steadily,” says Joseph. “People are starting to view shearing as a long-term professional career, where you can operate and compete at a high level. They are starting to recognise that if they want to do it long term, they need to look after themselves.

“The industry has always tended to put the new shearers with the experienced guys, to learn good techniques from them, but people are taking that a lot more seriously. I see a lot more sheep in slings now, to avoid muscle strains, and people doing stretches at the beginning and end of the day. I tend to do some stretches and go fairly easy for the first 15 or so minutes, while my body warms up.

“I think people have always recognised that if you keep your equipment sharp, that makes shearing easier, but there has been less understanding of how using blunt equipment will affect your body in the future. There are still those who can’t be bothered to put the effort into good maintenance but there is definitely more awareness around that.

“You also see a growing number of shearers bringing their own shearing machines to sheds – to make sure equipment is in the best shape for shearing. I was helping out at a shed recently with three young shearers, all in their 20s, and they had all their own machines.”

Joseph says hygiene is another issue that is gradually improving but could still be better.

“I was what you could call a ‘tidy kid’ and always very aware about good hand-washing practices, especially before eating,” he says.

“When I started shearing, I just had to get over that because there were sheds that literally had no hand washing facilities. You have to eat, to keep your energy up and you wouldn’t want to use your water bottle to wash because there was nowhere to refill it, so I would be handling food with my hands covered with grease, wool and worse. That is getting better, but every shed should have running water, liquid soap and paper towels to dry your hands.”

Joseph also sees awareness about nutrition growing.

“It’s very demanding work. People have always been pretty good about keeping hydrated but when I was shearing, a lot of people lived on junk – literally packet chips, processed stuff and takeaways.

“But there’s a lot of industry advice about that now and shearing companies are working to educate people about eating better. Some very high performing shearers work with nutritionists – and that approach filters down. You see a lot on shearing and social media about eating well and different electrolytes and it’s really good to see those discussions.

“Again, my background means I’ve always been aware about the importance of a good diet. I tend to eat a balance of meat, vegetables and carbs. If I’m shearing, I might make extra pasta to take with me or a healthy sandwich and nuts and grains. I allow myself treats too – I take the view that if I’m eating good stuff, I can have a few lollies. I think if you have a good diet, water is sufficient but I will supplement with electrolytes sometimes.”

While shearing full-time, Joseph was fortunate to escape serious injury when he was knocked unconscious by the spinning bucket of an old wool press.

“I did notice things were starting to get better around the time I left shearing, about four years ago, largely due to awareness about the new regulations coming in,” he says. "That included replacing old machinery, like wool presses.”


The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final will take place in the Christchurch, 1-3 July.  Keep an eye on Facebook or for updates.

For more information: WorkSafe media phone 021 823 007. 

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