Oromahoe Farm Trust Open Day shares award-winning environmental practices

Oromahoe Farm Trust hosted the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Winner’s Open Day on 13 May following its selection as Northland’s Regional Supreme Winner in March.

Farmers, agricultural cadets, and representatives of Northland Regional Council were among approximately 100 people who gathered for a tour of the farm to learn about the Trust’s award-winning environmental practices.

The Trust has around 1,000 hectares near Kerikeri, dedicated mainly to raising bulls, sheep, and forestry. Its operations combine productivity and financial success in an intensive farm system with environmental sustainability and a commitment to a positive future for tangata whenua.

Working in partnership with Northland Regional Council, the Trust has fenced more than 10 kilometres (km) of waterways, including 33 wetlands. In 2022, 9.8 hectares of waterways and erosion-prone land was retired and planted with 28,077 manuka. The Trust aims to complete fencing the remaining 1.8km of waterways by 2025.

The Trust has also received support from Te Puni Kokiri, who have assisted with land, environmental, and strategic planning. TPK has provided advice on fertilizer usage and helped with roadside boundary and infrastructure development.

The Trust has been active in pest control, working with Kiwi Coast to set 99 traps on the farm and check them at least once a month.

Group of people on farmland.

The first stop on the farm tour covered riparian fencing and planting projects, as well as NRC funding opportunities.

The commitment to caring for the whenua at Oromahoe is rooted in the Trust’s vision. Three pou guide the seven trustees who act as kaitiaki of the farm on behalf of its 1,500 beneficial owners: to protect the land; to reconnect the whanau hapu; and to distribute benefits for the wellbeing of its people.

People and the community are at the heart of the operation. The Trust is supporting the Oromahoe Marae with a fund for repairs and maintenance and provides kaumatua and kuia grants to those aged over 60 years. Education is key, and each year the Trust invests 10% of its net profits in education grants, which is topped up through a partnership with the Māori Education Trust.

Looking to the future, the Trust is considering diversifying into horticulture, and is carrying out water sampling of the aquifer beneath Oromahoe, with a vision to supply the marae, the farm, and local homes. It’s also making plans to plant erosion-prone land with totara, kauri and puriri, and for tamariki from the Oromahoe School to get involved in riparian planting.

But next is a trip to Hamilton in June to represent Northland as the supreme winners from each region compete for the national Gordon Stephenson Trophy and to become 2024’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing.

Fenced wetland on farm.

Planting around a fenced wetland on Oromahoe Farm.

Northland Regional Council wishes the Oromahoe team all the best for the nationals, and we look forward to continuing to work with this groundbreaking trust into the future.