A day in the life: of a wahine farmer

Hannah Wallace won Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the Year 2015, making her the first woman to win the award.

Published: Friday, 22 January 2016 | Rāmere, 22 Kohitātea, 2016

When Hannah spoke to Kōkiritia last year she said: “Winning this competition has given me the confidence to want to achieve my dreams of owning or leasing my own farm. It gave me a real confidence boost and made me realise that, yes us females can be farmers, and yes we are good at what we do because we are right up there with the boys.”

We were lucky to follow her around for part of her day on her parents’ farm. Hannah works as a Shepherd General and splits her time between two sheep and beef properties. On a typical week she works three days on the family property which is owned and managed by her parents Richard and Harmony Wallace. It runs 5600 stock units across 1500 hectares. The rest of her time is spent managing Rotanui Station, a part of farm incorporation Te Whakaari, with her partner Jeremy.

As well as a cash prize, each of the competition finalists will receive a $1,500 training scholarship to help with their professional development. Applications are open until 29 February 2016. Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Tumu Paeroa, Primary ITO, and Allflex sponsor the award. To enter or for more information visit the Ahuwhenua Trophy website.

1) How did you get into farming?

“My parents own a sheep and beef farm so farming was something that I knew well and loved. I left school and managed to get a job on a dairy farm in Tūtira (Hawke’s Bay)”.

2) As a woman farmer, do you think women approaching farming differently?

“As a woman farmer I do think we approach farming a little bit different to men. We are not as strong and most likely less physical so we have to think things through sometimes and find an easier ways to do things.”

3) What is your ultimate aspiration for your farming career?

“My ultimate aspiration would be to own my own farm! But getting there is the question!”

4) What is your favourite time of day and activity/job/task associated with your job?

“My favourite time of day would have to mustering the stock, getting to work with your dogs and the stock and seeing how far your dogs have come from when you first started training them this something that I love to do! I also really enjoy shearing a few straggler sheep it’s a change from your day to day chores and something that i would really like to work on! I do enjoy most things to do with farming.”

5) What is your least favourite time of day and activity/job/task associated with your job?

“My least favourite time of the day would most likely be fencing, I’m not a very confident fencer don’t get me wrong i can put in a post and strain a wire but to be honest there is nothing worse on a hot summers day digging a post hole haha.