Kate MacFarlane has always known what she wanted to do.

She grew up on Waiterenui Angus Stud at Raukawa so is a farm girl "to her DNA" and considers herself lucky in her life.

Lucky that her parents, Will and Viv, told her to follow her dreams, lucky she was able to travel and gain experience overseas, lucky she got the jobs she wanted and lucky with all the "amazing people" who have helped her.

When she left school Kate, 29, took a gap year from her plans to go to Lincoln University and went to the UK where she worked in shearing gangs.

Advertisement

She came home to complete a Bachelor of Science degree at Canterbury University with a focus on agriculture and the environment.

She came home to Hawke's Bay for a while and did casual farm work with her two dogs before her itchy feet took her off again to her mother's homeland of Scotland.

"I did two years working on farms in Scotland and was lucky to land a shepherding job at Flass, one of the biggest farms in the Borders region of Scotland."

By coincidence the farm is owned by Tom and Mary MacFarlane.

"They were an amazing family.

"I loved it. I had my own bothy, which was a bathroom and toilet downstairs and a single bed and kitchen upstairs. And very thick walls."

The farm carried 4500 cattle, 1200 of which were breeding cows, and 4500 ewes lambed outdoors in May.

"I had my own lambing beat on the hills. The stock are farmed New Zealand-style outdoors. However, the finishing cattle are brought inside over the winter and fed silage, which is made on 324ha of the farm."

Advertisement

Kate was one of 10 staff on the farm.

To add to her CV she also worked for meat producing company Scotbeef in product procurement, liaising with suppliers.

When she came home she met her partner, Rikki Thurston-Parris. She got a job shepherding at Simon Beamish's Awapai Station in the Whanawhana district west of Hastings.

"I was there for two years and had to do everything the other shepherds did, from killing dog tuckers to crutching ewes."

She and Rikki moved to Omahaki Station off the Napier-Taihape road, where Rikki was manager and Kate again did casual work in the Glenross district.

"I loved it. It was a great opportunity to learn something different from all the people I worked for."

In September last year Kate and Rikki moved to Waikoha, a 2500ha farm owned by the Cushing family's Rural Property Trust. Rikki is the manager and Kate has a 627ha block nearby that she looks after.

"The best bit about my life is I get to do what I love every day and there are no bad bits.
"I love animals and I love my dogs."


They are not lost to Hawke's Bay. Their long-term plans include a return home and farm ownership, hopefully at Waiterenui.

"I'm very lucky."