Anahera Hale and Bailee Hepi: Future of Farming Bright

Bailee Hepi has a bright future in farming

Anahera Hale loves farming.

In fact she wants to own her own farm one day and she’s got a plan on how she’s going to do it. Anahera was at the annual Eastern Bay Skills Day held at a farm on McCracken Road, near Edgecumbe, earlier this month.

After graduating with a New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture from Toi Ohomai in November, Anahera’s been working as a dairy assistant on Rod McPherson’s farm near Blueberry corner. She got the job after doing a five-week placement during her course last year. 

She says she’s hooked on it now and it’s a job she can see herself doing for the rest of her life.

“I love being outdoors, working with animals instead of people – just the whole farming environment.”

Anahera says the course provided her with a good understanding so that she was able to get in and do things during her placement, proving to Rod that she was a good worker. Farm ownership is Anahera’s ultimate goal, but she says she wants to continue to be dairy assistant and work her way up in to a managers role.

She says farming is a lucrative job and “beats sitting on the couch, doing nothing”.

“Put it this way, I earn enough so that if I wanted a new truck then I could go and buy me  a new truck.”

Anahera’s class Bailee Hepi is also finding out the benefits of farming. He is working on Ngāti Awa’s Ngakauroa Farm, near Te Teko. He got the job after Rachel got him a gig doing relief milking during last year’s course.

Before taking on the course, Bailee was working in an orchard and always liked being outdoors. He heard about the course from a graduate and the winner of the 2018 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award, Hare Ngaheu.

Like Anahera, Bailee has big plans for his farming career too and says he wants to work his way in to becoming a sharemilker.

“That’s the plan, or maybe manage a farm. I love farming and want to stay in it and build my career in it.”

Bailee’s boss Mike Learmond says he has a good relationship with Toi Ohomai and agriculture tutor Rachel Nash, so enjoys taking on her students when he can.

He says Bailee is a good find. 

“We had a guy leave, advertised the job and Bailee was the best suited for the position we had. He is awesome, is always listening that’s why he is progressing fairly quickly.”