Farm visit connects at roots level

Published 17th Feb 2012
Go on past Masterton, right through Gladstone, over the hill and back towards the Pahaoa river and you arrive at Pahaoa 3B2 and Pahaoa 3A2B – 320 hectares of sheep and beef country that, says lessee Don McCreary “is getting healthier and healthier”.

With four years of leasing the blocks now behind him, Don was delighted to show the owners of the whenua the dams, fences and pasture he has added.  “I’m sure the owners want to be proud of their land, and it’s good farming to do the best for it.”

It was the first time any of the owners had been on the land, and, says owner Lavell Moeau, who has seven children, it was something she really wanted to do “for my babies”.  “Our mum used to throw a few of us kids in the car and we’d head out through Gladstone and go foraging.  She used to tell us stories about where we were, but we were young, so I didn’t really listen.  Now I’m really interested.

“We’ve actually come up this way camping a lot, but I didn’t even know we had land out here until I got the notice about the field day.  I want my kids to know where their land is and how they’re connected to it.  And it’s great to be able to come on here and meet the farmer and see what he’s doing to the place.”

Another owner on the visit, Lavinia (Lovey) Walker, says knowing about the land, and having the chance to visit it “helps us all to know the roots, and who we are to each other.”  In fact, in spite of having friends in common in Masterton, Lavinia and Lavell had only found out they were related when they met up for the field trip.

Māori Trustee Aotea/Takitimu and Te Waipounamu Regional Manager Novena McGuckin says she was happy to organise the day for the owners.  “It’s a great way for people to meet up and make connections.  Our work at the Māori Trustee is part of the process that brings people back to the land and connects them with each other and on a day like this you can really see that happening.”

So, if you get the chance to go on a field visit to your land, do what these owners recommend:  “Go!”  And if you and your whānau would like to go on a field visit to any of your land blocks, discuss it with your local Māori Trustee office.