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Chosen Pathways

Making the most of potential

When run-down Martinborough Station was up for sale, James and Janeen Bruce saw it as their golden opportunity. John Watson reports on the couple’s ride to farm ownership. Photos: Graeme Brown James Bruce understates his own skill and drive when he claims he’s got to where he is with luck. Described by those close to him as just a regular bloke, with the energy of about three, ... Read More »

Hitting pay dirt

Bright and bubbly Stephanie Sloan has her fingers in many pies and enjoys the variety that the agricultural industry gives her. Her full-time role is North Island soil science technical specialist for PGG Wrightson and she’s also an avid multi-sport competitor. Sam Tennent reports. Stephanie (Steph) Sloan grew up on a station in northern Hawke’s Bay until her parents bought ... Read More »

Butcher a cut above the rest

Superior knife skills have earned Nolton Laing a trip to Australia with the Pure South Sharp Blacks team to compete in the World Butchers’ Challenge. The 24-year-old works for Harris Meats in Cheviot, north Canterbury, and is one of four new members selected for this year’s team of six. After trials in Auckland, team manager Todd Heller and team captain ... Read More »

Dogged determination

Trading heavy machinery for her first shepherding job has Justine Blackburn on track towards realising her farming dreams. Growing up on her parents’ beef and deer farm near the King Country town of Taumarunui, 26-year-old Justine always had an interest in farming. After finishing high school her first summer job was for a local agricultural contractor and ended up lasting ... Read More »

Young shepherd makes good

Young Wairere shepherd Tom Gordon wowed the judges with his impressive knowledge of genetics and clear career goals to lift him to the top of the pack in the recent Wairarapa Shepherd of the Year competition. Announced at a field day held at 2016 Wairarapa Sheep and Beef Farm Business of the Year winners Jim and Brendan Varty’s Alfredton property ... Read More »

A sweet view on life

Bryce Hooten didn’t let blindness at 19 slow him down – he and his right-hand woman and wife Sue used upskilling and lots of “bloody hard yakka” to build a successful beekeeping business. He told Amanda Saxton how the reward is semi-retirement breeding queen bees with lots of bach and launch time chasing snapper. Perched in an amphibious vehicle with ... Read More »

Harvesting USA

At 21 years old, Tim Garrick’s career has already taken him from a lifestyle block, to big-country shepherding, to driving enormous combine harvesters up and down the United States. “If I take a liking to an opportunity, I make sure it happens,” Tim says. He left Whangarei’s Christian Renewal School at 16 when family connections landed him a shepherding job ... Read More »

Notching-up Far North successes

Josh and Stacey Williamson have packed a lot into their five years in the Far North. While Josh has been manager of Paua Station it’s been big productivity and environmental gains onfarm that let it reach the finals of last year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Excellence in Maori Farming Awards. The young couple have also had the birth of their second son Campbell, and reaped many rewards from personal development. ... Read More »

Tautane teamwork

There’s likely to be plenty of teamwork and a healthy dose of rivalry when young shepherds Taane Hubbard and Hemoata Kopa next enter the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the Year Award. The couple, who met while studying at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, were both finalists in last year’s competition, which was won by Taane’s cousin Hannah Wallace. The competition alternates each year between sheep and beef and dairy, so ... Read More »


Reuben Carter’s choice of the word “hurricane” for both his email address and sheep stud name couldn’t be more appropriate. In his 31 years he’s been through three careers – as a fitter and turner, a tractor mechanic and now agronomist. He was runner-up in the 2014 Young Farmer of the Year competition, has just completed the Kellogg Rural Leadership ... Read More »