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Ōpōtiki – Te Ahu Haumako

Integrated Farm Planning Seminars and Focus Groups

Brought to you in conjunction with MPI Ōpōtiki – Te Ahu Haumako is a series of integrated farm planning wānanga and focus groups, for people from all sectors – beef and lamb, dairy and horticulture. These sessions will be attended by local industry groups and local council, giving you the opportunity for introductions and questions.

Field day three: Biodiversity Bites

6 June 2024 at the Otanemutu Farm

We saw a heard about the large pond they have constructed with a dam for irrigation, and witnessed the early stages of a wetland being established in an area unsuitable for grazing. 

Additionally, a fish passage expert discussed the implementation of a fish  passage in a culvert, sharing insights on supporting fish and other marine life in these envrironments. 

Seminar three: Biodiversity Bites

22 May 2024 at the Senior Citizens Hall and the Ohiwa Headland Eco-Sanctuary

With biodiversity expert Wayne O’Keefe and local biodiversity rangers Mithuna Sothieson and Andy Glasier

About the experts:

Wayne O’Keefe is a trustee with Tane’s Trees and has a passion for the unique biodiversity that we have in NZ. He works in the community conservation space supporting and guiding conservation groups and landowners to achieve their conservation goals.

Mithuna Sothieson is deeply passionate about biodiversity and collaborates closely with the local community around the Ohiwa headland to foster the thriving ecosystem of native plants, animals, and birds. With years of experience under their belt, Mithuna is an invaluable source of expertise in this field.

Andy Glaser works the the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Ōpōtiki as the Wild Animal Team Lead. In saying that, conservation is more than just a job for him and he also does a lot of important work in the Ohiwa Headland Sanctuary, bringing the community together to work collaboratively on improving the local biodiversity so they, and we, can all benefit from it.  

Farming with Native Biodiversity Resources

Throughout this 20-month pilot project, the goal was to distribute valuable knowledge to aid farms in their decision-making processes. The emphasis lay in fostering skills so that farms could develop practical, eco-friendly practices that also proved economically viable. The one page information sheets below that were created as part of this project.

Halo Project Resources

The Halo Project is dedicated to various activities including predator control, restoration of forest and seabird habitats, and freshwater enhancement spanning from the source to the sea. The resources below created as part of this project. 


The day started with a presentation at Woodlands Hall to give an introduction to VSAs  then, after lunch, we headed out to a property nearby where Graham demonstrated how to complete a VSA on both a farm and an orchard

About the expert:

Graham Shepherd is a VSA expert, soil scientist and agricultural consultant. He is the director of the company Bioagrinomics who specialise in linking soil conditioning, soil function, plant nutrition, animal health, farm productivity and a farm’s environmental footprint with smart fertilisers and smart farm management practices.

Seminar Two: Soil Matters

With soil experts: Nick Collins and Murray McEwen (Rere ki Uta, Rere ki Tai) and Phil Carter (Biostart)

6 March 2024 at Woodlands Hall
soil management on farm

About the experts:

Nick has been immersed in farming throughout his entire life, growing up on a sheep and beef farm north of Auckland. For seven years, he worked as a shearer in both Aotearoa and abroad.

He eventually accepted a job milking cows, which ended up with 18 years of farm ownership. Throughout this period, he operated under the Fonterra Organic program.

Six months after taking over the farm, he made the decision to convert to organic farming, driven by a commitment to stewardship of our land and water. His primary focus was on nurturing the soil microbiome and establishing diverse pasture swards. Additionally, he planted 20,000 trees on the property to serve various purposes, including riparian protection, shelter, shade, fodder, habitat creation, ecosystem restoration, and carbon sequestration.

Murray possesses a diverse professional background, having engaged in various facets of the agricultural industry. His experience includes roles as a stock agent, wool classer, and involvement in export, as well as hands-on experience in dairy farming and milk processing.

Throughout his career, Murray has been actively involved in fertiliser application, farm nutrient management (including the use of Overseer), and the design and management of dairy effluent systems. Drawing from practical experience, he has worked in both conventional and organic agricultural production. 

Phil is the Horticulture Territory Manager at Biostart, overseeing the regions of the Bay of Plenty, East Coast, and Lower North Island with dedication spanning eight years.

Raised on a poultry and sheep farm in the Wairarapa, Phil brings a wealth of agricultural knowledge to his role. He holds a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Postgraduate Diploma in Horticultural Science from Massey.

Prior to working at Biostart, Phil has held pivotal roles, including serving as the Horticultural Sales Representative and Kiwifruit Export Representative for Wrightsons, as well as the Williams & Kettle Horticultural Representative and company fertiliser co-ordinator . His expertise further extends to overseeing Fruitfed Hastings representatives, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of diverse crops. 

What was covered:

Focus Group One - Mapping workshop

9 November 2023, at Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi
Integrated Farm Plan Mapping workshop
Integrated Farm Panning mapping workshops

seminar oNE - Introduction to Farm PLanning

28 September 2023, 10.00am – 2.00pm at Ohui Domain Pavilion