MACHINE MILKING and MAORI LAND DEVELOPMENT
“During my 22 years of association with Maori farming. I have seen the very important part that milking machines have played in assisting the Maori farmer to bring his lands up to the high standard of production enjoyed by hundreds of units all over the North Island—those who are guided by the Maori Affairs Department and also those who are farming on their own account.
Why should I say milking machines have played an important part in this work? One reason is that the faster cows are milked and returned to the pastures, better production results—this fact has long been established. It is obvious then that more cows can be milked in a given time and consequently higher returns are available. With the morning milking over and the cream at the gate early, the men have more time to put in on the farm bringing in more land into permanent pasture. Another reason is that cows have been used to machine milking for so many years that they now don't like hand milking and consequently returns suffer.
To retrace my steps to 1931, it was my privilege and honour to meet the late Sir Apirana Ngata, H. Tai Mitchell, and Te Weka Anarau when Sir Apirana outlined his scheme to develop idle Maori lands, build homes and cow sheds on them and put on herds of cows, to enable the units to repay the capital spent on development. At that time the scheme came in for some public criticism and appeared to many a “dream” that could never come true. I was not one of these people because after meeting these men one could not help becoming inspired by their enthusiasm. Sir Apirana at first favoured each unit milking a few cows by hand. I pointed out to him the advantages of machine milking and that I felt he knew the advantages as well as I, but he said money was the trouble, and so it was in those days. I agreed that times were hard but asked where would we get if we went back to the “oxen and wood plow?” It was the machine age and we must live for today and not yesterday.
Within a short time machines were installed on farms at Maketu and then at the Horo Horo scheme at Rotorua and at Waiuku. From then on, the success of the scheme grew so rapidly that the Native Department, as it was then known, was constituted to guide the development further along the road to success. Each year has seen ever increasing numbers of new farms developed and settled, and this development is still increasing under the Maori Affairs Department (the old Native Department under a much more appropriate title).
In retrospect it is interesting to note that the Gane Milking Machine Company has equipped more than 90% of these farms with machines. This company which deals solely in milking machines has been supplying the New Zealand and some overseas markets for 48 years, and feels justifiable pride in this achievement—not just because it has made sales, but because it knows that it has supplied the Maori farmer with the most efficient machine of the best quality for the most reasonable price and in doing so has helped him to farm on an economic basis and parity with his Pakeha contemporaries.
I have during my 22 years' association with various schemes, had the pleasure of visiting hundreds of sheds and would be doing a grave injustice if I failed to mention the wonderful job the Maori women are doing in them. In many sheds they do all the milking (this would not be possible without machines) so that the men have full time on the farm. I pay special tribute to Mrs Bob Clarke of Tikitere, Mrs Foley Eru of Horo Horo, and Mrs Prim Whata of Rotoiti for having some of the best kept sheds I have been in, and this includes Maori and Pakeha. Of course there are many others in all parts who deserve great credit also. I have been in fine sheds in Tokerau district in the north, Rotorua area, East Coast, and Bay of Plenty, Ruatoki, Wairoa, Tokaanu, Wanganui, Waikato and latest of all, the Pouakani Block at Mangakino—everywhere the story is the same.
In conclusion I would ask how could this be done without machinery. The dream of those great Rangatiras who have passed on have come true far beyond their greatest expectations and will continue to do so with your help. I think I can say the Gane Machine is the “Rangatira” of all machines. There is a Gane Machine for every size of herd from five cows to 200 cows and there is Gane Service in every town. For any information needed write, wire or phone any Branch or Agent of: The Gane Milking Machine Co. Ltd., Anzac Ave., Auckland. Branches at Hamilton, Palmerston North, and Whangarei.”
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