Otiwhiti Station welcomed 150 potential farm trainees and their families to their open day which was held on Saturday 5th June 2021. With only 16 cadets taken annually this is a very exclusive opportunity for some. Feedback on the open day was very positive, with a couple saying “My son George and I were very impressed with the course content, facilities, staff and particularly the calibre of the cadet guides. George is only year 11 now but will be applying next year to start at Otiwhiti in 2023” and another saying “Thank you so much for a great insight into Otiwhiti Land Based Training School last Saturday. We went to 3 open days that weekend and yours was without a doubt the highlight – we were all really impressed with the overall package, so wanted to take the opportunity to provide you with the feedback. You have a very impressive operation that you and all the staff can be very proud of. I was particularly impressed with your inclusiveness of women in Ag, which in addition to the “family feel”, letting the cadets take the lead on the day, focus on teamwork/pride and professionalism, set your operation miles apart from the others.
‘Farm trainees at Otiwhiti Station live on site. Otiwhiti is considered by Land Based Training and its stakeholders as an exemplary training site, here trainees are fed, accommodated, taught, and employed on site. The training provided on the station far exceeds the minimum requirements for the Certificate in Agriculture, with 100% of students getting employed once they finished.

Otiwhiti Station
A historic and iconic large-scale sheep and cattle breeding property located in the Hunterville district, Rangitikei. Now owned by the Otiwhiti Limited Partnership, Otiwhiti has been farmed until recently by Sir Thomas and Lady Duncan Trust for the funding of research and hospitalisation of children with polio. The property is 16km northwest of Hunterville, 67km from Palmerston North and 60km to Wanganui. The total area of Otiwhiti Station is 1750 hectares. The station buildings include the homestead, manager’s residence, shepherd’s residence, cookhouse, and single shepherds’ quarters. It is the cookhouse, the “Hood” and single shepherds’ quarters that forms the home of the Otiwhiti Station Land Based Training Agricultural School Limited. The Otiwhiti Station Land Based Training Agricultural School Limited is a not-for-profit charitable company. Land Based Training offers the educational backup and teaching to ensure quality tuition is passed on to the fortunate selected students. Sheep and beef farming is changing; the Otiwhiti Station Agricultural School is committed to training young people who will become the new breed of managers that the sheep and beef industry needs. Farm owners are increasing their land holdings, which in turn directly affects their need for trained labour. In both the sheep, beef, and dairy industries, instead of selling their land, farmers are now retaining their stock and employing farm managers. These ‘professional’ farm managers have good salary packages based on their sound business skills, communication skills and forward thinking. Land Based Training and The Otiwhiti Westoe Farming Company are privileged to offer this opportunity to students. Developing skills and knowledge and being recognised for that through a qualification is an important part of life today. Being involved in the sheep and beef industry is a positive step in a career pathway.

Each student will be tutored and work on Otiwhiti Station and other local Hunterville stations. Students will work on a farm four days per week throughout the course, gaining skills required. The students will learn skills from the farmers, field instructors, tutors, or any specialist person involved during the course. We put emphasis on a ‘hands on’ approach, that is, students learn best by practically applying theoretical skills learnt. Dog work will be taught throughout the year. The activities the cadets do include sheep shearing, fencing, dog handling, horse riding, butchery, and lots more.


***This story was originally published by the Whanganui Chronicle on Thursday 17 June 2021***

Photo Credit: Otiwhiti Station