Celebrating Guardianship with Silver Fern Farms on a Global Stage

By Silver Fern Farms

Celebrating Guardianship with Silver Fern Farms on a Global Stage

On the East Coast of the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand, lies Whāngārā, a small community north of Gisborne. A place where rolling green hills look across the ocean, where the sun first rises, and looking after the land is a top priority.​

Whāngārā Farms is made up of six farm units, with a total land size of 9000 hectares, growing 100% Grass-Fed beef and lamb supplied to Silver Fern Farms, and delivered to global consumers under a trusted New Zealand brand.​

Whāngārā Farms has a rich history, and the business is made up of three incorporations; Pakarae A and Other blocks, Whāngārā B5, and Tapuwae Whitiwhiti. Whāngārā B5 has been farmed since 1916, when the Whāngārā B5 owners chose to stop leasing to European settlers and farm the land themselves.​

Whāngārā Farms is now owned by a collective of three Māori Incorporations, with around 2000 joint shareholders, who work as a collective to manage the business in a way that prioritizes intergenerational care and value. The day-to-day running of the farm units is managed by a team of passionate staff that are led by General Manager, Richard Scholefield.​

Whāngārā Farms is the focus of ‘Guardians’, a film included in the Food for Thought series presented by FoodDrinkEurope and produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions. The series highlights 12 companies around the world finding innovative solutions to producing food on a warming planet. ‘Guardians’ celebrates the work Whāngārā Farms does, as environmental stewards of their land, supplying Silver Fern Farms Net Carbon Zero program. 

Net Carbon Zero is a unique program with activity occurring across the total value chain - including on farm through insetting the sequestration of carbon, and in market delivering an independently certified, trusted net carbon zero range into the hands of consumers.​ ​

The key to this methodology is ‘insetting’, determining how much of the carbon produced by the animal is being absorbed by the local environment. New Zealand has a uniquely biodiverse farming environment, with on-farm vegetation including regenerating native bush, woodlot forests, shelter belts, summer shade and winter animal shelter, and erosion and riparian planting.​

Ingrid Nea Collins is the chair of the Whāngārā Farms Whakahaere (Board) and has been involved with the management of Māori land in the region for more than 35 years. Ingrid says being a guardian of the land is a highly important role.​

“As kaitiaki, we look after this land. What we have been tasked with, it doesn’t come lightly. It means everything to us, and for those to come, for the generations that are coming after us.”​

Kaitiakitanga is a Māori value centered around guardianship and protection at Whāngārā Farms, it is central to all they do.​

“We are the guardians of Whāngārā Farms. Every generation embraces our kaitiakitanga. It is our duty and our honor to protect and preserve the life of this land. The land that has fed our people and created world-class agricultural treasures for decades.”​

The notion of kaitiakitanga is echoed by General Manager Richard Scholefield, who took on his role in 2006.​

“It’s all part of the landscape here at Whāngārā, managing the farm to help us preserve the goodness for future generations to enjoy.”​

Silver Fern Farms is passionate about creating goodness from the farms the world needs, and the company says it is proud to work with farmers like Richard, who champion this purpose in their farm business.​

Not only are Whāngārā Farms kaitiaki of the land which they farm, they are actively working to support and celebrate the future kaitiaki of the land, they are a gold standard example of the farmers the world needs, and Silver Fern Farms is proud to celebrate their success on the global stage.​

To read more about Whāngārā Farms visit their website.