Twenty female Japanese students have visited Stratford to learn about the region's farming and related businesses.

The students, known as Chikujyo ("agri-girls" in Japanese) came from various agricultural high schools across Japan to spend eight days learning about agriculture and farming in New Zealand.

While here the students stayed at Taranaki Diocesan School for Girls, where they enjoyed experiencing boarding school life as well as learning about Kiwi culture.

Principal Fiona Green says the visitors have enjoyed a packed schedule during their visit.


"Activities organised have included a trip to Fonterra cheese factory in Eltham and a visit to Farm Source. "

The trip has also included a focus on gender balance in dairy farming, she says.

"Japan is wanting to address the gender balance in dairy farming so visits to Hollie Wham and Rachel Short have also been organised."

Rachel is an Opunake-based equity partner in two certified organic family farms as well as being a sharemilker on one of the farms with her husband, while Hollie is a South Taranaki farmer who won the 2018 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year title with her partner Owen.

Fleur Karasawa, Japanese teacher at the school, says students from the school enjoyed sharing their learning with the visitors, and were able to practice their conversational Japanese with them as well.

Activities such as making and decorating pavlovas were on the schedule, said Fleur, as well as plenty of agricultural focused learning during the time.

Fleur says it was a privilege for the school to have been selected as the host for the visit, and the learning opportunities had been great for both their own students and the visiting ones.

The visiting students enjoyed a range of activities and experiences, aimed at increasing their knowledge of New Zealand agricultural practices, while they were in Stratford.


On Friday, their schedule included a trip to Dolly's Milk, a raw milk business on Warwick Road which has vending machines for people to get farm fresh milk.

That night the students were headed off to stay on various farms in the area to give them an insight into daily farm life in Taranaki, said Fleur.

The trip was organised through the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council, and had been a positive learning experience for all involved, Fleur said.