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Whakatāne – Boost your Farm Planning Capability

Integrated Farm Planning Seminars and Focus Groups

Brought to you in conjunction with MPI Whakatāne – Boost your Farm Planning Capability 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

5 June at Mountfort Farm and Whiritoa Orchard

seminar three: Biodiversity bites

21 May 2024 at Edgecumbe War Memorial Hall and then Otipa Arboretum

With biodiversity expert Wayne O’Keefe and local biodiversity ranger Bill Clarke 

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.

Bill Clark is highly regarded for his active involvement in community projects and initiatives. He is often seen volunteering his time for local clean-up campaigns, tree planting events, and educational programs focused on environmental stewardship. He is well known for his unwavering dedication to community development, environmental conservation, and his pivotal role in the preservation of the Onepū Wetland

Biodiversity resources

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. 


21 March 2024 at Edgecumbe War Memorial Hall

With VSA expert Graham Shepherd

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

5 March 2024 at Edgecumbe War Memorial Hall

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

Soil basics in farms and orchards

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

16 November 2023, at Whakatāne Library
Integrated Farm planning mapping workshops
Integrated farm planning mapping workshop

seminar one details- Introduction to farm planning

26 September 2023, at Edgecumbe War Memorial Hall