Inspiring learning on innovative farms
Otiwhiti Station is a 2,000 hectare, historic and iconic large-scale sheep and cattle breeding property located in the Hunterville district, Rangitikei.
Now owned by the DJ & VM Duncan Family, Otiwhiti was previously farmed by Sir Thomas and Lady Duncan Hospital Trust for the funding of research and hospitalisation of children with polio.
Important Course Dates
8th June 2019 – 9 am – 12 noon
26th July 2019
Sunday 2 February 2020
What Past Cadets Have To Say
I am the Station Manager of Ferndale Station, Turakina Valley Road, Hunterville. The Station is 2300 ha and runs 13,000 sheep and 600 beef cattle. I attended Otiwhiti Station Land Based Training School in 2007. I always wanted to be a farmer and dreamed of learning traditional farming on horseback with a team of dogs. These were some of the things I learnt at Otiwhiti Station where I gained a solid foundation for farming. The skills I learnt at Otiwhiti Station help me in my current position and will also be useful day to day as my wife and I have just purchased our first farm 5 mins out of Hunterville.
I am a shepherd at Drysdale Station, Turakina Valley Road, Hunterville. The Station is 1650 ha and has 7200 ewes, 2400 hogget’s and 400 beef cattle. Farming is in my family since 1902 and is something I always wanted to be involved in. I attended Otiwhiti Station Land Based Training School in 2016 and feel that the school provided me with a good all-round training on and off the farm. It’s not just the class room, or the farm work its more than that – it teaches you about team attitude, life skills and so much more and even now that I’m working I can still ask them about things and they are still happy to help.
I attended Otiwhiti Station Land Based Training Agricultural School in 2009. The skills I picked up from my time at Otiwhiti opened a lot of opportunities for me in different jobs – I went to Australia to work on a Cattle Station and i’ve been to England and Scotland shearing. I have been able to do a lot of travelling due to the skills I originally gained from Otiwhiti. I think people think if you go there then you are going to be a Shepherd, but it opens a lot of other directions you could take in the agricultural sector. One of the things they taught us was Shearing. Since leaving the school I have become a shearer and I now work in the Hunterville area for Shane Ratima Shearing Ltd. Last year I got a personal best at Otiwhiti Station shearing 501 sheep in 8 hours. Otiwhiti also provided me with an opportunity to develop a great group of contacts and friendships up the valley and within the Hunterville district. This has opened lots of opportunities for me in my career and personal life.
I was born and raised on a sheep and beef/bull hire operation in Taranaki. I completed a one year cadetship at Otiwhiti Station Land Based Training School in 2013 and stayed on for a further 2 years shepherding whilst working towards my Diploma in Agriculture, developing my practical skills day to day. In 2014 with a nudge from Charlie I competed nationally and went on to represent New Zealand at the World Young Shepherds competition in France. In 2016 I returned to Taranaki to manage a 900 acre sheep and beef block for my Grandfather, Bill Craig. On the 1st of April 2017 I took over a 500 acre lease block in Te Popo, Taranaki. I run 1000 ewes, 400 hoggets, 49 R1 beef (which I rear), 20 R2 beef heifers and 40 R3 beef steers. I also sell around 50 of my Bendall Romney Ram lambs locally which I’m hoping to expand on. For the last 2 years I have also been shearing full-time for a local contractor Kevin Harley. Shearing was one of the most invaluable skills I gained and improved on at Otiwhiti, and it is mostly responsible for the financial ability I had to get into leasing a farm and buying my own stock. I have no doubt that without attending Otiwhiti I would not be where I am today. The opportunities, experiences and friends I gained there were more than I ever hoped for, not to mention the ongoing contact and support.