Hannah Speakman, 2IC at Pine Hill Dairy in Oamaru has been celebrated as one of three finalists in the 2024 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award.

At the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards evening on 17 May, Dr Charlotte Severne, the Māori Trustee and Chief Executive of Te Tumu Paeroa praised the finalists saying the country needs more young people like them to enter the primary sector. Ben Purua, Farm Manager at Waimakariri Lands Limited in the Waikato was named winner, with all the finalists receiving a $7,500 scholarship to support their career development.

Of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, Hannah spent her childhood on a sheep and beef farm in Hawke’s Bay. It was there that her passion for whenua and livestock began. In 2019, during the first covid lockdown, she found herself working on the farm every day and it was then that she decided to pursue a career in farming. After watching the success of her sister and brother-in-law dairy farming in Taupō, she was inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Hannah began working for Scott and Megan Rowlands at Pine Hill in April of 2022 as a Farm Assistant. The 170ha property milks 560 cows, is fully irrigated, with great infrastructure, equipment, farm management systems, practices and protocols, with Hannah saying it has been a wonderful farm for her to learn and grow on.

She has spent the last two years developing her skillset around feeding, pasture/grazing, animal health, maximizing production, machinery, staff management and many other aspects of running a whāma kau.  Hannah is very grateful to have had the mentorship of her employer Scott. She credits his extensive farm knowledge, taught to her with much patience and enthusiasm, as having had a huge impact on furthering her dairying career. She is currently enrolled with Primary ITO and is studying Livestock Feed Supply and Demand; she has completed Milk Smart Principles and Livestock Husbandry Certificate at Level 3.

Her short term plans are to continue learning, growing and to upskill her way to become a Farm Manager. She would like to gain more confidence, with a deeper understanding of all aspects of the dairy farm, especially from a business perspective. Her long term goals are to become self-employed and add to her career by training to do animal technician work. With a focus on animal health, such as TB testing, debudding, pregnancy testing and artificial breeding.

Hannah is an active member of the Five Forks Young Farmers club and has obtained two roles on the executive committee as Teen-AG liaison and social media. These roles are very important to her as she feels strongly about whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, being inclusive in the community and showcasing a career in farming to rangatahi coming through. Hannah wants to show that if she can do it, anyone can, no matter what gender, culture or background you come from. Hannah hopes her journey can inspire those wanting to pursue a career in farming and give support to those coming into the industry the same way she was mentored.

Photo credit: Alphapix.nz

Published: 27 May 2024