Ko Tainui tōku iwi,
Ko Ngati Amaru tōku hapū,
Ko Te Awamarahi tōku marae,
Nō Pukekohe ahau
Ben, 26, is currently working as the 2IC for a contract milker at Trinity Lands farm, a 307ha (287 effective) property near Tokaroa in the South Waikato which runs 900 cows.
He recognises that the dairy industry has helped turn around the life. From an early age, Ben was presented with some significant challenges. He was brought up in Pukekohe and raised in an environment of violence, drugs, alcohol and gangs, and as a kid growing up just wanted to be a gang member like his uncles. This led him down the path of being in juvenile prisons and finally to the adult prison at Waikeria. He says at this stage he felt his life was over and he gave up hope. He says he never knew his dad and felt rejected, but finally met him in 2018, just three months before his father died. Ben also suffered from dyslexia which made learning hard.
Before spending time in prison he had no dreams of becoming involved in dairy farming. But while there he found a passion for farming and this progressed into dairy farming which he saw as a way out of the situation he was in.
Since obtaining a job on a dairy farm Ben has completed the husbandry and feeding course Level 3 through Primary ITO and is currently part way through the Level 4 course.
He says he’s a hands on person (a real tutu) and loves getting up early in the morning and being around animals. Ben says he loves being outdoors and enjoying the physical challenges of the industry and loves the opportunities that there are within the industry. He describes it as a great industry for people with backgrounds like his to positively progress their lives and to that end he goes back to Waikeria to talk to the men there and to encourage them to follow in his footsteps.
Ben says he likes the whole kaupapa behind the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards, especially how it focusses on Māori achievement and celebrates success as Māori in the dairy farming industry. He says his wife, children and whānau encouraged him to enter the awards and he’s happy he did so and already has met some awesome people.
Long term, Ben would like to own and run his own farm but at the moment his goal is to become a manager or a contract milker.
Ahuwhenua TrophyOffice 6.3Level 6, Berl House108 The Terrace