Hard work and intensive study are taking an ambitious young man to the goal he's long had in his sights. Dairy farming's something he grew up with and it is a lifestyle he loves
Sharemilker Wiremu Reid has his heart set on owning a farm by age 30 and he's making all the right moves to get there.
The fourth-generation dairy farmer grew up in Whangarei and moved south with his partner Bettina in 2009. Since then the young couple have been building up their equity, making many sacrifices along the way, hoping to reach farm ownership by 2020.
"I'm confident we'll get there," says the 24-year-old.
"Ultimately, we want a run-off, or a lease block, with conversion possibilities. But, for the short term, we would like somewhere to graze our own stock."
The couple are in their first season 50/50 sharemilking 1150 cows in Ranfurly with the support of Wiremu's parents.
"We're all doing a big marae-style partnership," says Wiremu. "My parents are helping out with the wintering and mating. Having them involved means there's more time to do extra jobs that will help us get to where we want to be faster."
On June 13, Wiremu was announced winner of the 2014 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the Year competition.
Sponsored by Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa, Te Puni Kokiri and Allflex, the competition established in 2012 has become an exciting addition to the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award.
He says he was impressed with the high calibre of the other entrants and believes Maori are well suited to farming.
"As Maori, we naturally have many key attributes that make us successful farmers. We have a good sense of humour; make light of any situation, no matter how stressful; we have an easygoing attitude, where we give anything a go; and also hardness to stick it out and get the job done."
As an applicant, Wiremu was assessed on a range of skills and qualities, including his commitment to farming, training and education, expertise relative to his position, community involvement, plans for the future and personal attributes.
The runners-up for the award were 50/50 sharemilker Joshua MacDonald, from Waikato, and herd manager James Matheson, from Gore.
To improve his business management skills, Wiremu is studying for a Diploma in Agribusiness Management through Primary ITO.
The diploma is a qualification for agribusiness decision-makers who want to upskill and acquire the tools to give them better business knowledge.
Though dedicated to achieving his goal, Wiremu still recognises the importance of family and makes every effort to take time out to spend with his young sons, William and Manu. "My parents always made time for us so Bettina and I do the same," he says.