Successful Hawke's Bay conservation project benefits from cash grant.


A successful Hawke’s Bay whio, or blue duck, conservation project has received a $10,000 maintenance grant from Whio Forever, a species recovery programme launched jointly by Genesis Energy and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

The grant will enable the Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust to maintain the extensive network of predator traps funded by a four-year, $107,500 cash injection from Whio Forever announced in October 2012. The work is being done on the Trust’s property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest, a 6,120 hectare expanse of bush south of Te Urewera National Park in inland Hawke’s Bay.

The Maungataniwha whio protection project includes establishing a secure breeding area for whio by exterminating predators and pests, conducting research into resident populations and monitoring breeding patterns.

The Trust now operates 870 mustelid traps in the Maungataniwha Native Forest in partnership withHawke’s Bay Regional Council, up from 333 in 2012. It has also used its own money to establish a network of trapping tracks.

"This is not a captive breeding programme," said Pete Shaw, FLR trustee and forest manager. "It’s about effective stewardship of the wild birds that are starting to call our properties home because they’re safe places to live and breed."

In 2012 the catchment areas of the Waiau and Te Hoe rivers bordering the Trust’s Maungataniwha property was classified a Blue Duck 'Recovery Site' by DOC's Whio Recovery Group (WRG). This followed a census conducted by the agency, with input from the Trust and other interested parties, which revealed an "immensely encouraging" whio population density.

Whio Forever aims to double the number of secure breeding sites for the threatened native duck.

"The funding is helping to cement this area’s potential as a recovery point for this embattled little duck, and will hopefully contribute to the long-term survival of what remains currently a highly endangered species," Shaw said.

Classified as ‘endangered’ by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN) and as ‘nationally vulnerable’ by DOC, the whio - named for the high-pitched whistle made by the male - has been severely impacted by exotic predators such as stoats. Once widespread throughout New Zealand’s back-country rivers, the whio population is now severely fragmented and chick counts are falling. "Conservation in New Zealand can no longer be purely the preserve of government agencies," said Trust Chairman Simon Hall. "The job’s too big, the battle’s too fierce. Landowners and the private sector all have a role to play.

"We’re extremely grateful for this ongoing support from Whio Forever. It’s a solid endorsement of the work we’re doing out there and will enable this to continue."

In addition to its Whio conservation work the FLR Trust runs a restoration project aimed at boosting the wild-grown population of the flamboyant and extremely rare shrub called the Kakabeak, undertakes various pest control and eradication initiatives and assists with the re-introduction of forest birds to previously abandoned habitats. It’s also fast carving out a name for itself as one of the most prolific and successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country.

Hawkes Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year is announced.


Congratulations to Caleb Dennis from Craggy Range who became the Bayer Hawkes Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 last week and now goes through to the National Final. This annual competition is now in its 10th year and has become an important fixture in the viticultural calendar, giving young vits the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge as well as make a name for themselves within the industry.

After an action packed day Caleb beat 7 other contestants to take the Hawkes Bay title. Anton Luiton from Constellation came second and Will Krippner from Indevin Partners came third.

Contestants completed a wide range of activities including questions on budgeting, pruning, plant diseases, machinery, irrigation and grafting, as well as having an interview, a quick fire question round and delivering an after dinner speech.

Questions are set by the national and local sponsors who are all specialists in various aspects of the industry. The standard of entries was very high, showing a strong future for the viticultural industry in New Zealand.

The annual Biostart Hortisports race also took place which included apple bobbing, hula hooping as well as tougher challenges like reversing a quad bike and trailer, setting up an irrigation system and sawing a barrel in half.

Hawkes Bay was the first region to hold their final on 2 July at Te Awa Winery. Central Otago, Marlborough and Martinborough will hold their finals throughout July. (17th, 24th & 28th respectively) The National Final to find the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 will be held in conjunction with Bragato over 25-27 August and this year will be in Hawkes Bay.

As well as gaining the title, the national winner will be awarded a $5000 travel voucher from NZSVO, 1 years full lease of a Hyundai Santa Fe, $2000 cash, wine glasses and leadership training. They will also secure a place in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition representing the viticultural industry.

Hawke's Bay couple receive Dairy Farming award for excellence.


Congratulations to Jock & Beth Grant, who received the "Jillian and Kevin Rose award for Dairy Farming environmental excellence in Hawkes Bay."

The award was donated to the Dairy Industry in Hawke's Bay by Kevin & Jill to mark Kevin’s 15 years of service as a Hawke's Bay Regional Councillor.

Billion dollar goat infant formula industry a step closer for Hawke’s Bay



A farm to market new industry in the region is a step closer following the announcement yesterday that a national goat milk based product manufacturer will build a spray drier in Hawke’s Bay.


At yesterdays Infant Formula Industry for Hawke’s Bay Conference organised by Business Hawke’s Bay (BHB) and held in Napier, Gregg Wycherley, founder of Fresco Nutrition Ltd, told the 200 plus attendees that “when we build, we will build here”.


The company currently has a four-year lease agreement with Innovation Waikato, part of the government’s New Zealand Food Innovation Network to use a spray dryer there. 


“We are grateful for the opportunity to use an open access facility, but in order to reach our goals we need to build our own spray dryer and canning factory.”


He aims to begin building the facility in two years although is still working on confirming details, and estimates the investment to be around $30million. 


Once fully operational, the facility would provide around 40 jobs.


Mr Wycherley described Hawke’s Bay as ticking all the boxes as the region to locate his operation, citing the climate, land prices, Napier Port, transport infrastructure, water and trade waste systems, and supportive local government as key attractive factors.


He also indicated that the support Business Hawke’s Bay had provided him in his investigations was particularly helpful. 


He has been working closely with Catherine Rusby, BHB’s food and beverage programme manager, who started working on the possibility of setting up a non-bovine infant formula industry in the region late last year.


Ms Rusby coordinated the conference that saw a full day of speakers address representatives from the farming community, rural support and professional advisory services, local government, Iwi, local engineering manufacturers and others interested in the commercial aspects of this new regional opportunity.


Among the speakers, Tom Skerman, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council economic development manager presented economic impact research garnered by local economist Sean Bevin of Economic Solutions Ltd, that indicated there was potentially $1.5 billion in revenue and 178 jobs that could be generated in the region over 10 years from direct and associated work related to the new industry.


Mr Skerman explained this revenue was based on setting up 18 goat dairy farms,construction of the processing plant and a packaging facility, and the annual operation of all these facets.


Andrew McCallum from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment who has responsibility for the Food and Beverage Information Project, outlined how infant formula fitted into the global food market.


He highlighted that China is driving world growth in baby food / infant nutrition sales, growing over 50 percent more than the rest of the world combined, although there is strong growth across the developing world.


Natasha Telles D’Costa, an associate director with Frost & Sullivan, an international business development advisory firm, presented emerging trends on goat milk powder, again with emphasis on China and Asian markets. 


She stressed that it was important to understand the motivating factors relevant to each specific market behind the preference for goat milk and structure the product and marketing accordingly.


For instance she explained that Chinese women were very exacting about products they chose for their children and would exhaustively research options, particularly relying on online blogs for information and experiences about products.


Other presenters included speakers from Massey University, the Food Innovation Network and HB Regional Council, plus genetic and mineral systems experts.


Also on the speaking list were Hawke’s Bay farmers, David Phillips and Lydia Baty who have recently converted 41 hectares from sheep and beef to goat farming near Havelock North. 


The father daughter combo spoke on their experiences and the rationale behind their plans to milk 650 goats.


They fielding many questions from the enthusiastic and inquiring audience.


Of the day, Ms Rusby said “Our aim was to show those attending where the business opportunities are so they can go away and do the due diligence to determine if it is right for them.”


“This is a long term proposition.  It’s an opportunity for the region to add another string to its bow that will create jobs both on farm and at a more technical production level.  It could provide marginal farming operations with a viable alternative, and provide supporting businesses more growth opportunities too.”


Ms Rusby will continue to be working to “connect the dots” for those interested in getting this new industry underway in Hawke’s Bay. 


She can be contacted at Business Hawke’s Bay by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For more information contact:


Catherine Rusby

Business Hawke’s Bay

Food and Beverage Programme Manager

Phone 06 650 7005

Mobile 021 0299 5119

Gregg Wycherley, Fresco Nutrition 027 318 8801


Hastings shearer fought an exciting battle for time honours in the UK.



The New Zealand shearing team has had a narrow loss to Scotland less than 48 hours after arriving in the UK at the start of an eight-test tour.

Shearing at the Lochearnhead Shears, Dion King, of Hastings, and Tony Coster, of Rakaia, went down by just 2.275pts to scottish pair Hamish Mitchell and Callum Shaw.

Mitchell and King fought an exciting battle for time honours, World champion Scotland team, member Mitchell winning by three seconds and shearing his 16 sheep in 11min 12sec. Mitchell also claimed the best quality points on the shearing board, but King had the best result in pen judging.

Shaw, who won the Scotland championship at the Royal Highland Show a week earlier was next off iun 11min 52sec, but Coster took almost another minute, a points deficit of almost three points.

King and Coster, who only arrived in Scotland on Thursday with manager Ronnie King, reached the quarterfinals of the shears’ Scottish Blackface Championships, which provided one of the biggest Open-class results for young Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan, who was third to Mitchell in the final.

Yet to win an Open title, the son of shearing legend David Fagan has had other recent top placings in the UK. He was rapt to do so well in the higher level of competition, assisted by the New Zealand team, who were his pen-boys for the final.

Taumarunui shearer Guy Fraser won the Senior shearing final, backing-up the first win of his career scored just seven days earlier at the Roiyal Highland.

The next test of the tour is against Ulster in Northern Ireland on July 10, followed by two testst against England and four against Wales.

With Coster having to return home early because of other commitments, David Fagan will come out of his brief retirement to shear the last five of the tests.


International (16 sheep): Scotland 94.388pts (Hamish Mitchell, of Lochearnhead, 11min 12sec, 45.975pts’ Callum Shaw, of Saline, 11min 52sec, 48.413pts) beat New Zealand 9h6.663pts (Dion King, of Hastings, 11min 15sec, 46.875pts; Tony Coste, of Rakaia, 12min 50sec, 49.688pts).

Scottish Blackface Open Championship final: Hamish Mitchell (Lochearnhead, Scotland) 1, Simon Bedwell (Garve, Scotland) 2, Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti, New Zealand) 3, Nicky Beynon (Gower, Wales), 4.

Scottish Blackface Senior Championship final: Guy Fraser (Taumarunui, New Zealand) 1, Stewart Kennedy (Aberfeldy, Scotland) 2, Ross Gibson (Gartocharn, Scotland) 3, Alistair Shaw (Saline, Scotland) 4.

Open woolhandling: Leanne Bertram (Lockerbie, Scotland) 1, Nikki Gore (Golden Bay, New Zealand) 2, Kirsty Donald (Edzell, Scotland) 3, Millie Green (Hawick, Scotland) 4.

New Zealand team itinerary:

July 10 NISSA Shears, at Shane’s Castle, Northern Ireland

July 11 Lakeland Shears, at Cockermouth, Cumbria, England

July 14-15 Great Yorkshire Show, England

July 17 Cothi Shears, Wales

July 18 Lampeter Shears, Wales

July 20-23 Royal Welsh Show, Wales

July 24-25 Corwen Shears, Wales

Wool Prices ease in Napier


New Zealand wool prices eased from recent highs at auction this week as shorter wool failed to attract the same premium as longer wool on offer the previous week.

Lamb wool slipped to $7.40 a kilogram at yesterday's North Island auction, from a record $7.45/kg at the South Island auction the previous week, according to AgriHQ. The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand's production, declined to $6/kg, snapping a three-week stretch where it held at $6.20/kg, the highest level since November 2013.

Wool prices softened this week even as a decline in the New Zealand dollar made it more competitive for overseas buyers. That's because much of the offering at this week's North Island auction was coarse second-shear wool, compared with the more varied longer selection on sale at the previous week's South Island auction, according to exporter New Zealand Wool Services International.

When compared to the last North Island sale on May 28 when a comparable selection was offered, prices were generally firm to dearer, NZWSI general manager John Dawson said in a statement.

Some 9400 bales were offered at auction yesterday, up from 6876 bales last week, although next week's scheduled South Island auction has been cancelled due to insufficient wool. Demand remained strong at this week's auction, with 98% of the wool offered at auction sold yesterday, the 10th straight week the auction clearance rate has held above 90%.

The next auction on June 25 and will have about 6150 bales from the South Island and 10,800 bales from the North Island.

Wool is New Zealand's 13th biggest commodity export, and the value of exports has been rising as the national wool clip declines following a drop in sheep numbers.

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