Rameka Eli Edwards

2022 Finalists

Rameka Eli Edwards

Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui

Rameka is 30 years old and employed as a Manager on the 560ha (effective) farms Puketitiri and Waitete owned by Reon and Wendy Verry, south of Te Kuiti.

He was born in Te Awamutu and raised on sheep and beef farms around the area. Growing up he was hands-on helping his dad on farm, which shaped his love and passion for farming. He knew this was the lifestyle he wanted when raising his tamariki.

After leaving school, Rameka wanted to earn a trade and pursued engineering. He gained his qualifications in Level 4 Heavy Fabrication and worked in the field for seven years. Although he regrets not starting his career in farming earlier, Rameka feels his engineering experience has been beneficial for a variety of farm and mechanical needs.

While getting his trade in engineering, Rameka and his now wife Sidney became young parents when they welcomed their son Taimana and purchased their first home in Otorohanga. Soon after welcoming their daughter Ava, Rameka felt the land calling him back and was craving the farming lifestyle for his young whanau.

Without wasting time, he landed a shepherding job in Honikiwi on a 700ha farm, where he worked for three years for Peter and Linda Harper. Working alongside the owners, he built a strong team of dogs, upskilled on animal husbandry and stockmanship, fencing, pasture and feed management. He often had the responsibility of looking after the farm while they were away which helped prepare him for his next step in his current role as a manager in Te Kuiti.

The hill country farm he is on now runs 50/50 sheep and beef and has a range of stock classes. The ewe flock is comprised of 2,200 Coopworth ewes (1,500 of these go to a Kelso Gold FE tolerant Coopworth ram while the older ewes go to a Primera terminal ram), 700 hoggets are kept as replacements and all other lambs are fattened or sold store.

There are 200 dairy grazers on farm while 150 Friesian x beef cross breeding cows are mated to a Charolais bull. Heifers are sold at 12 months and bull calves are finished on farm. Replacement heifers are brought in, as are another 80 Friesian bulls to be finished.

Rameka's role as manager involves day to day running of the farm, including stock rotations, pasture management, crop management (chicory to fatten lambs, kale to winter breeding cows) and all general work. He trains a Growing Future Farmers (GFF) student who is on farm for two years, manages summer students and organises contractors (shearers, stock agents, vets etc). Rameka rates the GFF student programme as he enjoys encouraging young farmers to turn their passion into a career in this rewarding industry. He is also part of a farm managers discussion group run by Perrin Ag.

Within his short four and a half years of farming Rameka has finished Level 4 Sheep and Beef Farm Management through Primary ITO and is currently completing Level 5 Sheep and Beef Production Management.

In his spare time, Rameka enjoys coaching Taimana's rugby team at Te Kuiti Primary School and spending time with his whanau having adventures on and off farm including hunting, which has rubbed off on both kids.