New Zealand Young Farmers have been donated a 74ha farm in Auckland to showcase agriculture to New Zealand youth.
Located between Manurewa and Whitford, the dairy farm was donated by the late Donald Pearson. NZYF CEO Terry Copeland said the farm would be a vehicle into the future and offer exponential opportunities in displaying a wide range of industries including, horticulture, dairy and sheep and beef operations.
"This is not a money-making exercise for NZ Young Farmers but rather an amazing opportunity to further our emphasis on engaging with students in Auckland schools to showcase the vast array of careers available in the agri-sector."
Although details are yet to be finalised, Mr Copeland said he expected the farm to be a doorway to innovative technology and a masterclass in the future of farming.
"There are enormous possibilities and we are excited about the partnerships this will bring across the industry to communicate the opportunities the sector can offer New Zealand's youth.
"To have this facility in the heart of Auckland presented a substantial asset the industry needs and will play a significant role in the Ministry of Primary Industries target of attracting an extra 50,000 employees to the sector by 2025."
Recently Mr Copeland spoke of the need to make Auckland the next emphasis for attracting youth into Agri-food careers.
"How do we engage with the next generation in Auckland?
"Currently 39 per cent of all high school students in New Zealand reside in Auckland and only 29 per cent of all students reside in rural areas, so we have a real problem and this farm will give us a solution."
Mr Copeland said NZ Young Farmers, through its PGP partnership with DairyNZ and RMPP funding, is constantly working with urban schools to sell a positive message around agri careers and the farm would add strong foundations.
"We will be able to let as many students as possible visit, explore and view the incredible opportunities this sector offers. The gift itself was extraordinary, because Mr Pearson had no children of his own and had no formal relationship with NZ Young Farmers," Said Mr Copeland.
"But he knew he didn't want his land carved up and sold off to residential housing. His passion for agriculture and belief in the organisation to use it to bring people into the sector has left a legacy that all of the agri-sector will celebrate for decades to come."
Friends of the donor have expressed an interest in helping NZ Young Farmers to set up the farm because they wanted to realise Mr Pearson's dream.
They said Mr Pearson initially didn't know what he wanted to do with the farm if he died, but he knew what he didn't want to happen - to be subdivided.
NZ Young Farmers chairperson Jason Te Brake was excited about the opportunities the farm afforded the organisation.
"The gifting of the farm was an extremely generous donation by Donald, and one which will play a significant role in allowing NZ Young Farmers to continue to connect and develop the future people of the primary industries," he said.
"The farm is intended to showcase the primary industries to New Zealand youth, and this aligns perfectly with NZ Young Farmers strategic direction and compliments the rewarding results we are already achieving through our school based programmes."
The farm willtrade under NZ Young Farmers from September.