Taumatamoana Station, as it is re-named now, is a large scale coastal sheep and cattle station consisting of 3285 hectares located in the Te Anga district approximately 60km’s west from Otorohanga.
Taumatamoana Station Ltd
Taumatamoana Station, as it is re-named now, is a large scale coastal sheep and cattle station consisting of 3285 hectares located in the Te Anga district approx 60km’s west from Otorohanga. It is made up of approximately 920ha of moderate hill country, 1000ha of steeper pasture, 1000ha of native bush and 370ha of “close to mature” Radiata pine forest.
It is a sheep and beef property with some 20,000 stock units made up of Perindale ewes, and in the last three years high performance Romney rams have been used to improve general sheep performance. A quality Angus herd of 900 cows have been developed with the objective of further genetic improvement. High performance bulls have been purchased over many years making it a very attractive “Angus-pure” herd.
When purchased in August 2015 the property required a significant investment in fencing as much of the property was subdivided with electric fencing which was difficult to farm. The property has approximately 1000ha of native bush which is a life-style hunting incentive with pigs, deer and goats in abundance. In the last three years significant expenditure has been put into sub-divisional fencing, and with a good lane system now completed it has made stock management considerably more efficient. The property has the potential to carry 25000-27000 stock units with improved pasture and further sub divisional fencing.
With only about 100ha of flat land much of this has been turned-over and put into forage crops with the intention of eventually putting this back into permanent high-performing pasture. The property has some 370ha of forestry of which 200ha is close to harvest. The harvesting of this forest has enabled the property to have a good cash income to invest in the infrastructure and the major fencing programme. Being a coastal block, the farm has spectacular west coast scenery and has potential to develop a tourism component. From sea level the property has a highest point on the Hari Hari trig of 418m.
This property is run with a management team including the owners, farm manager and outside advisors. The Station has five permanent staff with commercial contractors to cover such requirements as fencing, shearing and weed control.
The team is as follows:
- Farm Manager (Brent and Dianne Gowler)
- Two full-time senior shepherds
- General maintenance and caretaker
- Junior shepherd
- Commercial contractors are employed full time for fencing and another contract work (fencing, shearing, spraying)
The Station operates under an in-house “FARM-PRIDE PROGRAMME” which is the basis of their farming programme. “TMS” as the property is generally referred to, is very picturesque, and being a coastal block, has some outstanding vistas over-looking the Tasman sea.
Hari Hari Station was established in 1907 as a sheep farm by a Mr George Riddell from the Taranaki district. It was taken over by his son Jack Riddell around 1915. The block is located close to Lake Hari Hari after which it was named.
Prior to Riddell’s arrival, a flax mill run by Bell Bros and Ross operated on the farm. The Bell Bros and Ross had also operated another Flax operation at Maracopa until it burnt down in 1903 and they shifted up the coast to Hari Hari Station. Flax from the Tauhua swamp was taken to the mill by tramline. Wool and bales of flax fibre were taken out by dray to the beach and then by surf boats to waiting steamers. Other items such as wire and timber were backloaded at the same time. This activity ceased in January 1929 but the mill continued to operate at Hari Hari until at least 1908 when in August that year the local paper the “KAWHIA SETTLER” reported the mill was closing down due to poor fibre prices.
At this time stock were driven down the coast to Marokopa and then through to the Waitara freezing works. Stock was also sold to the Westfield works at Onehunga near Auckland. Mr George Goddard, later of Te Kuiti, stated that as a boy, he worked on Hari Hari Station and that the cattle yards on the station were built with native Puriri strainers and Kauri rails.
In the month of January 1929 Jack Riddell tragically drowned and died without leaving a will and the NZ Public Trust took over the operation of the property. During the Trusts time of management several managers served the station until 1951 when the Public Trust handed the property back to Huia (Jacks daughter) now Mrs Horrie Forbes and her mother Mrs Riddell. Later in 1951 Huia and Horrie Forbes bought it back with an additional 800 acres. Horrie and Huia worked the farm until 1975 when their three children John, Shane and Maea (Muff) with her husband Allen Marshall, managed the farm until Tony Harwood and his wife Jackie took up the management role. Mr Horrie Forbes passed away in 1987 and is survived by his wife (Huia) and their three children. Mrs Riddell passed away in 1988, Huia now resides in Hamilton. In 1995 Hari Hari station was sold to the Maori Taharoa C block as an investment.
In December 2003 Mr John Gallagher purchased, from David Smith’s family, approximately 1100 ha’s on Taumatatotara West Road and named this property Taumatamoana Station meaning “Top of the hill to the Ocean”. In 2006 a further two neighbouring properties were also purchased giving the farm a total land area of 1600ha’s. In 2013 an opportunity arose to purchase the neighbouring Hari Hari block and this purchase gave the station a total of 3285 ha’s making it one of the larger coastal Stations in the King Country.
In August 2015 John McOviney from Palmerston North purchased the property from the Gallagher’s and it is now owned by his family trust (Steelfort Family Trust). John McOviney’ interest in farming has spanned more than 40 years recently selling his 1200ha property in the Rangitikei district, Potaka Station Ltd, to concentrate on the development of Taumatamoana Station Ltd. His philosophy is to develop the property into a high performing sheep and cattle station with stock that reflect that vision.
The station, particularly with the acquisition of the Hari Hari block has significant importance to early Maori involvement as the Tainui canoes from the first arrivals, continue to occupy the southern shores of Kawhia harbour. We understand the current Maori king, Kiingi Tuheitia, spent many holidays on Hari Hari Station in times past. The Kawhia district still holds cultural and spiritual importance to the Tainui Iwi. Close neighbours are the Taharoa Iron and Sand Mining company and the Station has two beacons located on the property as sight markers for the shipping of iron-sand.