Puhirere Te-Akainga Tamanui Tau

2022 Finalists

Puhirere Te-Akainga Tamanui Tau

Ngati Ira, Ngati Porou, Ngāpuhii

Puhirere is 24 years old and currently employed as a Shepherd working on Rototahi and Puatai Stations, which are part of Whangara Farms located south of Tolaga Bay.

Puhirere grew up in Herekino in the Far North, where he spent most weekends pig hunting with his dad or playing rugby. He moved home to the East Coast in his teens, where he met his partner Lee-Jay Love.

Puhirere is a talented musician, and in 2013 he competed on X Factor NZ and in 2015 he placed third on Homai Te Pakipaki. He then studied at EIT Tairawhiti and completed his Level 4 Carpentry Certificate in 2016, showing great promise as a builder which was no surprise considering both his grandfather and father are builders.

Puhirere did not complete the apprenticeship however and took an opportunity in the farming industry instead. He started a job as a General Hand working for his father-in-law, who at the time was managing Pakarae Station, Whangara Farms. This is 1,500ha predominantly steep country with big paddocks and mixed-age stock classes. Puhihere was here for 3.5 years and eventually progressed to a shepherd’s role, before moving on to Rototahi and Puatai Stations.

Rototahi is 850ha effective carrying the replacement stock within the Whangara Farms business, wintering about 8,000 hoggets, 380 R3 Angus heifers, 80 odd weaner bulls, flat to rolling county with some steep. Puatai, located across the road from Rototahi, is a bull finishing farm: 650ha with about 1,100 Angus bulls between the age of R1-R2, flat to rolling country.

Puhirere has worked his way up, starting on the fence line, doing tractor work, and then stock work. He has even learnt the skill of creating, maintaining, and harvesting a willow and poplar pole nursery. 

This year Puhirere is looking at doing the Primary ITO Level 5 Production Management qualification, as he has recently completed Primary ITO Level 4. He feels fortunate to work for a progressive Māori farming corporation such as Whangara Farms, which has been very supportive. The farming practices he learns are a vital part of his plans for the future.

The farming lifestyle played a big role in his career change and he feels it is the perfect fit for his young family. His children enjoy country living; being able to help dad on the farm and riding horses is what they love the most. In his spare time, Puhirere enjoys spending time with his family and playing for the Uawa Rugby Club.