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No. 10 (April 1955)
– 44 –

Farmers Organize in Tikitiki

Te Ao Hou has recently acquired a new competitor on the East Coast. The Waiapu Young Farmers Club, formed in September last, has started a cyclostyled publication, the ‘Waiapu Y.F.C. Recorder’, which so far has appeared three times. Behind the ‘Recorder’ is the story of a vigorous new offshoot to the Young Farmers' Club movement formed at the suggestion of Mr Pine Taiapa, the well-known carver who has of late years withdrawn to his sheep farm.

The club is the second all-Maori Y.F.C. in New Zealand, the first being the Whirinaki Club described in an earlier issue of Te Ao Hou. There were nineteen foundation members, and the number has increased with the inclusion of boys from the Tikitiki Maori District High School. The Chairman, Mr K. Dewes, is a master at the school. Successful farmers of the locality act as advisers to the club.

In its second issue, the ‘Recorder’ tells the story of the club's birth. Its foundation was first discussed at a field day in the woolshed of Tikitiki station. Visitors at the field day were Mr J. Flowers, chief supervisor of the Department of Maori Affairs, and Mr Swarbrick, a member of the Y.F.C. at Otoko. Both stressed the value of Young Farmers Clubs, Mr Swarbrick explaining in detail how one goes about forming a branch and the great benefit he and his fellow members at Otoko had derived from the club.

On September 8, 1954, Mr H. Conway, horticulturist of the Department of Maori Affairs, brought 1,000 pine seedlings, and a quantity of seed and took the opportunity to give a lecture on the value of shelter-belts on the East Coast, where erosion is a great worry at present. He demonstrated the laying of a nursery, preparation of a seedbed and the treatment of seeds prior to sowing. The high school students were on the scene with notebooks.

Four days later the people gathered on the marae at Tikitiki to consider the formation of a branch. The meeting opened with a short service by Mr Matauru Wanoa, during which he welcomed Mr Chamberlain, of the Department of Agriculture, Gisborne, to the marae and touched on the people's need for leadership and guidance in farming.

Mr Chamberlain spoke of the aims and aspirations of the Y.F.C. movement and explained its activities, which include not only lectures and field days, but also social life, sports and competitions in shooting, stock judging, shearing and debating. The chairman of the evening, Mr Pine Taiapa, put the motion to form a Y.F.C. branch for Waiapu and it was carried by acclamation.

The branch stepped off on a promising note. In the first month the club had a barn dance, addresses by two interesting visiting speakers, and a full and varied field day.

‘The Recorder’, the branch's magazine, has performed a great service in giving important information on farming to its members, covering many points about shearing and woolclassing, vegetable growing, and tanation assessments.