Twenty six year old Harepaora Ngaheu is from the Bay of Plenty and is of Ngāti Awa and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent. He was a finalist in 2016, and felt that he lost out because of his inexperience, but this time around feels he has the necessary attitude and skills to be a positive role model for young Māori.
Harepaora was born in Porirua but his family soon moved north to a small rural town Te Teko near Whakatane, where he didn't make as much out of school as he would have liked.
For many years Harepaora drifted around but a key milestone in his life was his 21st birthday, which Harepaora remembers was the day he put his first cups on a dairy cow as part of a training course he was on at the time. Harepaora is also thankful for Aiesha his partner and two beautiful daughters Reve, 9; and Kesiah, 6 who have also grounded him.
He found the dairy industry and it found him. His break came when a local farmer Colin Wilson took him in hand and offered him a permanent job – a move that has proved life changing for him and his young family.
After a year working with Colin Wilson, Harepaora was then put in touch with another dairy farmer and it was there that he learned more about farm management. The following year Harepaora obtained a manager's position and that gave him the opportunity to put all his skills and knowledge into practice. At the same time, he completed a level 3 course with tectra/emerge and is now doing the level 5 diploma in agribusiness. He says this is learning about how to run a profitable business and develop a wider knowledge of dairy farm management. He is currently an Acting Manager on one of Colin Wilson's farms, however in the 2018/19 season Harepaora plans to go contract milking, and with Colin's help, look into stock ownership while saving cash assets to open up more opportunities.
Dairy farming has been a lifesaver for Harepaora and has provided him and his family with a secure and enjoyable future. He says he wants to give back to the community by taking in young people like him that may need a new kick start in life, and help kids straight from school into the work force. He wants to teach them life skills and get them involved in saving their earnings to help pay their own way in life: do the mahi, get the treats!
He likes to fish, dive and hunt and has been both a keen rugby and rugby league player and in fact developed, managed and played in his own rugby league team. Harepaora loves the outdoors and animals and also enjoys working with big machinery. He also loves problem solving – finding out why a piece of equipment in the milking shed or a tractor has broken down and fixing it. Now he says it's time to hang up his rugby boots and focus on his farming future and follow his girls to their sports and hopefully if it's a beautiful day to go fishing or hunting.
Harepaora's entry into the dairy industry has given him new hope, allowed him to demonstrate his potential as a farmer and to achieve new goals. His aspirations are not only to become a 50/50 Sharemilker in five years, but to help get young Māori off the streets and into employment whether it be farming or running their own business. Harepaora wants to be in a position where he can help lift his community.
Ahuwhenua TrophyOffice 6.3Level 6, Berl House108 The Terrace