Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No. 6 (Royal Tour)
– 29 –


Lying east of Tauranga on the main Whakatane highway, and extending between five and nine miles from Tauranga, is a farming district which has made history in the Young Farmers' Club movement of New Zealand. In that district in October, 1949, was formed the first all-Maori Young Farmers' Club. Although there is now a second all-Maori Y.F.C. at Matakana Island in the same district, the club at Papamoa was the first to be formed.

The district is essentially a dairying one, embracing places with such euphonious names as Maungarangi, Ngapeke, Waitao, Papamoa, Kairua and Matapihi. Because of that diversity of names the Club has adopted the Maori tribal generic name — Rangataua.

The Rangataua Y.F.C. is not a large Club; at no time has its membership exceeded 22. It remains at about the 15 mark, with an average attendance of 10 at meetings. But smallness of numbers does not worry the stalwarts, whose enthusiasm keeps the Club not only alive, but effectively functioning. As members remark, they prefer a small Club composed of active participants to a large Club of dormant visitors. It is with the effect that the Y.F.C. has had on the economic prosperity and progress of those young Maoris that this article deals.

The first meeting was held in the Papamoa Maori School on October 26, 1949, through the enthusiasm of three men—a young Maori farmer, Mr W. Ohia; an elder who later became senior adviser, the late Mr W. Werohia; and Mr A. V. Allo, supervisor of the Department of Agriculture, Tauranga. It was the pertinacity of those three and the sympathetic co-operation of the headmaster of the local Maori School, Mr F. M. Pinfold, which has carried the Club successfully over the four years of its existence. And that same spirit has permeated all present members, whose loyalty to the Club is one hundred per cent.

Though it is not claimed that all the progress on the farms of these young men is due to their Y.F.C. activities, it is claimed that no other Maori farm in the district is better than the farm of any Club member. In other words, every one of those properties is a shining example of farm management to all other farms in the district. Cause and effect go hand in hand. One wonders whether the members' interest in the Y.F.C. movement is a manifestation of the qualities which are carrying them to success on their farms, or whether their association with the Club's activities brings about that success. My guess is a ‘fifty-fifty’.

Monthly meetings of the Club have been held regularly over the years, and all members are agreed that the aspects of farming brought to their notice have helped them very materially. At practically all meetings there has been a guest speaker, so that members have been given the benefit of a lifetime of experience, much of it specialised, from farmers and government officials. In particular, officers of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Maori Affairs have been very helpful.

Besides speakers from the Tauranga County Council, Auckland University College, and Maori Adult Education group, the Club has been addressed by a Tauranga dairy factory manager, a Maori Welfare Officer, a district officer of the N.Z. Dairy Board, a stock inspector, a veterinarian and several outstanding local farmers. The diverse topics studied have covered a multitude of farming activities. The enumeration of half a dozen may be of interest:

Administration of a Dairy Factory:

Seed Certification:
Hormone Weedkillers;
Rating of Maori Lands;
Silage Making;
Copper Deficiency in Local Soil.

Picture icon

The author, (Photo: J. Ashton)

– 30 –

In addition, at some meetings there have been film shows, debates, and impromptu talks on various farm activities. Field-days have taken members out to well-kept farms in the district; they have studied ensilage on Mr Turi Te Kani's farm; the outstanding Jersey stud farm of Mr K. A. Bennett; and a system of pasture cropping by the use of electric fences on Mr W. Newman's farm.

Social activities have not been numerous, but then the young men point out that it was not for social activity they joined the Y.F.C.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating, so we may ask what effect all this has had on the members of the Rangataua Y.F.C. Let me say immediately that the effect is clearly apparent to all who pass through the district in their travels, and who have eyes to see. It is much more apparent when one is conducted over members' farms. Granting that all these young Maori farmers have still much to do in the way of improvement, the effective use of the knowledge gained from their Club is obvious to all. The quality of the pasture grass, its freedom from noxious weeds, the quality of the livestock, and the well-planned cowsheds and piggeries are all a reflection of initiative and hard work. Of one of the farms a visitor, who previously had been judge for the Ahuwhenua Trophy, said it was up to the standard of farms visited by him in the course of that judging. Furthermore, the mark of individuality is on each farm, so that the personal preferences of each are seen on his property.

With one exception, all are small farms ranging from 48 acres to 100 acres, and all require intensive work to bring success. Members are careful in their choice of stock; all use pedigree sires. One member went as far afield as Taranaki for his dairy sire, and has raised his butterfat production from 207 lb over 230 days in the 1951–52 season to an outstanding 306 over 273 days in 1952–53. He, like most of the others, has his herd tested regularly, culls heavily and rears his own heifer replacements.

Within the last three years all these young farmers have changed over from hay as a winter fodder to ensilage, under the guidance of Mr A. V. Allo, of the Agriculture Department. Last season the Doidge Cup, for ensilage competition among Y.F. Clubs in Western Bay of Plenty, was won by a Rangataua member, Mr Turi Te Kani. At present several members are concentrating on methods to improve both the quantity and quality of pig-meat, with a change-over from baconers to pork.

Picture icon

Member of Rangataua Young Farmers' Club working in his ensilage pit.

Dairying, however, is not the only activity. All, rather than put their eggs in one basket, have sidelines, and produce small areas of pumpkins, potatoes and kumara. Mr D. Werohia has as a sideline a poultry run of 300 birds, and regularly sends supplies to the egg-marketing depot. The only sheep man among them all is Mr A. Kahotea, who manages the Ngapeke block under the Maori Affairs Department. It is a run of 800 acres, carrying 1300 ewes and 300 cattle.

(Continued on page 55)

Picture icon

Cowshed of W. Ohia.

– 31 –

At the Kaikohe Clothing Factory, machinist Bunny Tango is sitting next to the mascot she has made to decorate the factory for Christmas. The owner and manager of this recently opened factory. Mr H. M. Platt, has come to Kaikohe from Auckland because he desired to do voluntary youth work for the United Maori Missions in this locality. Originally he had intended to have only a branch in Kaikohe, but the experiment turned out so well financially that the factory, making coats, trousers, shorts, blouses, shirts and skirts, is now entirely separate. For the girls, the factory provides a good and steady job, which is important in Northland. In addition, the United Maori Missions run a hostel in which many of the seventeen employees are accommodated. Absenteeism in the factory is practically nil, says Mr Platt; there is no problem of rapid staff changes; standard of work is entirely satisfactory. Mr Platt considers there is no financial sacrifice involved in operating in Kaikohe instead of Auckland. Although freight charges are higher in Kaikohe, operating costs are lower, and in the final analysis there is no difference. “One of the great problems in Maori youth work,” says Mr Platt,” is to provide steady employment in the home environment.”

(Continued from page 29)

Some of the members are participants in a unique experiment under the Maori Affairs Department to place young Maoris on developed land after a term on a farm school. Three returned men, Messrs Bryan, Hayward and Milroys, after a term of training on the Maungarangi Farm School, have been settled on dairy farms cut out of that block, and are among the keen members. Two other members, Messrs T. Cairns and B. Te Kani, are participants in yet another experimental settlement scheme. They have been nominated by the owners to sttle on and farm an aggregation of small, uneconomic Maori holdings on the Kaitemako block. They, also, have grasped the opportunity of help offered by the Young Farmers' movement.

As businessmen, the young farmers are also meticulous in the records they keep. All those facts, figures and dates necessary for running a farm smoothly are entered in diaries; production figures, dairy returns, herd tests, management and overhead costs are all entered into appropriate books and files, so that all have a pretty fair idea of what it costs to produce a given quantity. In fact, they realise they are businessmen as much as farmers and, as such, must be able at any given time to analyse capital accounts, as well as to find the balance of working costs in their income and expenses account.

Meet these young farmers, and you realise you are in contact with men who are determined to ‘go places’. It was my privilege recently to hear them take part in a debate with a neighbouring Y.F.C. Their knowledge of the subject they were debating and their facility in the use of the English language would put many a pakeha to shame. They were a treat to listen to. And the thought came to me as I listened to them that their attack and handling of the debate were in keeping with the way they handle their own farms—a practical, commonsense manner, determined as they were from the outset that nothing but their best was good enough.


1Aims & Purposes of Y.F.C.
2General Pasture Management.
3General Pasture Management.
– 56 –

As above, and Seed and Topdressing Mixtures.


Pasture Renovation, Gorse, Blackberry Eradication.


Administration of a Dairy Factory; Flavours to Eradicate. All the above lectures by A. V. Allo, Department Agriculture, Tauranga Supervisor.


Veg. Cropping in Tauranga. R. Falconer, Horticulturist, Maori Affairs.


Rating of Maori Land, Tauranga County. Ross Carter.


Calves, Gestation Period. Mr Cook, Vet. Surgeon.


Spring Feeding of Stock; Electric Subdivision. Mr Allo.


Dairy Farm Management in Tauranga. Mr Lauder, Farmer.


A Study of Pig Carcasses. J. Kenyon, Pig buyer.


Resume of Current Production in Wai Auki Maori Land District. Mr Falconer, Maori Affairs Department.


Club Discussion of Farm School on Maungarangi.


Y.F.C. Baconer and Pork Competition. R. Woogue, Te Puke farmer, overseas trip.


Hormone Weedkillers. Mr Allo.


Maori History. Mr Merohia, Senior Adviser.


Methods used by Maori Affairs Dept. in Breaking in Virgin Scrub Country. Mr Cram, Supervisor, Maori Land Board.


Propagating Young Fruit Trees. R. Falconer, Maori Affairs Department.


Activities of Welcome Bay Y.F.C. O. Sorrenson, Member Y.F.C.


Films: (1) Efficient Milking Machines; (2) Milking Time. E. H. Mandeno, Consulting Officer, B.P., N.Z. Dairy Board.


Farming Conditions in Oklahoma, U.S.A. I. Smith, Farmer, Oropi.


History of Dairy Industry. Mr Mandeno.


Rearing of Calves. B. Cook, Vet. Surgeon, Tauranga.


Selection of Ideal Dairy Cow. T. Te Kani, Member.


Ensilage Making. Mr Allo.


Proposed Sub-division of Idle Maori Lands into 10-Acre Blocks for Market Gardening. R. Falconer.


Rating of Maori Lands. I. Tangitu, Welfare Officer.


Farming in Ohaniti. J. W. Rowe, Farmer.


Diseases of Sheep. B. Cook, Vet. Surgeon.


Cattle Breeding. K. Bennett, Jersey stud proprietor.


Impromptu Speeches from Members on Farming Affairs. Members.


Films: Silage Making, featuring the Bushrake. Mr Mandeno.


Seed Certification. Mr Allo.


Film: Whakatane Pig Show. A. F. Barwell.


Artificial Insemination. Mr Mandeno.


Impromptu Speeches.


Hormones and Weed Control. Mr Bloxham.


Debate: Necessity for Growing Supplementary Summer Feeding.


Rules of Y.F.C. Debates. Mr J. Wright, Y.F.C. member, Ohauiti.


Care of Livestock in Winter. Mr McKenzie, Stock Inspector.


Debate, under rules of Y.F.C.


(a) Copper Deficiency. (b) Calf Rearing. (c) Stock Diseases. B. R. Cook, Veterinarian.

Picture icon

Left: Members of the Rangataua Young Farmers' Club. From left to right, front: W. Ohia, D. Werohia, M. Ohia, O. Pukekura, A. Kahotea, F. M. Pinfold (senior advisory member); back; B. Te Kani, T. Cairns, T. Te Kani, A. McPhee. Right: Fowl house on farm of T. Kani at Matapihi. Photos: W. Ohia