PGG Wrightson

My experience is that the cadets are always polite, beginning with rising to shake my hand and introduce themselves when I enter the room.  This was one of the most noticeable aspects I remember about my first visit to the training facility, the manners and respect that came from the cadets.

The culture/manners they are instilled with extends to ensuring I have a coffee and I notice that one or two make the coffees for the group each break.  I usually stay for lunch and at the conclusion it is always offered for my plate to be taken to the kitchen.  There is good banter from the cadets during this time.

During the presentations I have found they ask all manner of questions, which is great and can lead to good discussion and can often be more valuable than just listening to someone talk.

The manners, eagerness, and good naturedness of the cadets makes it a pleasure to come up and teach and gives me a good feeling that these young people will do well in the future.

Joanne Amyes - Technical Extension Agronomist, PGG Wrightson Seeds

Lincoln University

A well-planned and logical progression linking Waipaoa to Lincoln University came to fruition in early 2009 when Rupert Barton, one of Waipaoa’s first graduates, enrolled in the Diploma in Agriculture programme at Lincoln. This eight course programme started in February and it was soon apparent that Rupert’s experiences and training at Waipaoa had set him up very well for this extended programme of study.

Lincoln’s Diploma in Agriculture covers a comprehensive range of courses, all of which are integrated with the core Farm Management subjects, which focus on applied management. A ‘practical work’ component is an invaluable part of the Diploma in Agriculture, and even more so for the advanced Diploma in Farm Management. The applied experiences and associated skills learnt at Waipaoa contribute to these practical work requirements, and provide an excellent grounding for students who wish to study at higher levels.

Rupert completed his Diploma in Agriculture and achieved excellent results in all subjects. His aggregate mark ranked him 4th in a class of nearly 80 students, which is evidence of the discipline and focus required to succeed. Along with these attributes, the social skills and ‘values’ instilled as part of the Waipaoa training have provided him and his contemporaries with an excellent base from which to launch their careers.

Russell Cameron - Senior Lecturer in Farm Management, Academic Co-ordinator for Dip.Ag. and Dip.FM, Lincoln University.


I have been involved in assisting in the training of the cadets in both a personal capacity and in bringing up product specialists from our company. At all times I have found the students keen to learn with good attitudes. The culture of the cadet farm and the quality of the students in the programme will, I am sure, provide well balanced and knowledgeable farm managers and farm owners in the future.

Gavin Loudon - Account Manager, Ravensdown

Waipaoa Graduate

I was one of the first to go through Waipaoa and, although it was still in the process of starting up, I feel that it has set a brilliant foundation for my career in agriculture. You can not beat the "hands on", practical learning that Waipaoa offers. Often, I look back and realise how much I got out of Waipaoa.  I have a good understanding of farming, which was attained during my training up there, and I am still realising how beneficial the experience up at Waipaoa was - I don’t think I could have learnt the variety of things that I did anywhere else.

Rupert Barton - Waipaoa Cadet 2007-08.

Meat and Wool New Zealand

I facilitate a six-hour sheep and beef genetics workshop, designed to provide the cadets with relevant knowledge to enable them to select rams and bulls for specific purposes, using genetic information produced by the two major genetic evaluation systems used for sheep and beef in N.Z.; namely Sheep Improvement Ltd., and Australian-based Breedplan.

We found the cadets extremely eager to learn and attentive, even after being presented for five hours with a lot of information. They were also very polite, introducing themselves individually.We could not help but be impressed by their overall demeanor and willingness to learn and felt very satisfied with the level of knowledge achieved by the completion of the workshop.

The day ended with a practical session in the yards, we left feeling the students are well on the way to being able to make informed decisions on which rams and bulls should be used for specific production systems. All they need now is to be faced with real-life experiences.

Russell Priest - Beef Genetics Coordinator, Meat & Wool New Zealand.

Independant soils specialist

I have to say it is always a pleasure to present a series of lectures with the cadets. Each year I am impressed with the calibre of the young people the Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Trust takes on board.

I know that maturity comes from the environment and guidance you and the Waipaoa Station staff create. They are very willing to learn and get involved which makes the teaching easy- yet they are not afraid to question if they aren't sure or don't necessarily agree with my comments. The ability to question and think through problems will hold them in good stead for any future challenges.

I have spoken with a number of farmers that now employ young men that have passed through your programme and they are held in very high regard and are valued members of their farming teams.

Mike Beedie - Contract Tutor.

Ovis Management Ltd

The Waipaoa cadets are an extremely impressive group of young people, highly motivated and inquiring with, in my experience, outstanding people skills. Waipaoa will develop future farming leaders.

Dan LynchProject Manager, Ovis Management Ltd.

Alex Reekers – Waipaoa Graduate 2009

Lincoln University has been a big step for me, in terms of opening my mind to taking a year off for study, and in experiencing a new place with new people, finding new opportunities.

My affinity to the land is too great for me to stand another year of this, however I urge future cadets to attend university, and make the most of it. It is very important, and if you want to be the one with the edge you’ll need it.

My time at Waipaoa Station set me up well with experiences and knowledge that make the Dip Ag almost a piece of cake, though it is still a challenge. The Dip Ag is a very general and introductory course; however it gives you the tools to expand.

Next year holds promise, with the prospect of work wherever I want it. All opportunities are being considered, and I’ve been keeping my eyes open. If you meet the right people down here they become a more valuable asset than your qualification. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and can you learn.

Alex Reekers - Waipaoa Cadet 2008-09.

New Zealand Beef + Lamb

My recent visit to Waipaoa was a fantastic experience and a chance to discuss wider industry issues with the cadets in their own environment. It was very refreshing to be in the presence of such an enthusiastic group of our next generation of young farmers who are so eager to learn about the industry and the future of farming. 

It is great to see that the board and management of Waipaoa recognise that future farmers have to take a wider interest in issues beyond the farm gate. At Beef + Lamb NZ we are very keen to encourage far greater involvement and knowledge of wider industry issues, and one of our key aims is to provide good information for farmers to make better decisions for improved profitability.

I am confident that encouraging engagement at an early age will instil in these young farmers the importance of looking beyond the farm gate, and helping to deliver a better performing industry in the future.

Mike Petersen - Eastern North Island Director and Chairman, NZ Beef + Lamb.

Totally Vets

Twenty four hours with ten young men at the Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet farm was one of the most invigorating days that I have had. To share that time with young folk who were so enthusiastic, knowledgeable, capable and above all else respectful was nothing short of awesome. 

The structures in place that have allowed these people to be there are just so successful and effective. The people behind this initiative need to be applauded because every aspect of the programme is so good.  The location, the farm resource, the choice of candidate and the tutorship are all just right to get a great outcome.  That outcome is five young men a year emerging from two years of intensive farming and life skills education to be potential leaders in a wide range of vocations.  I have reflected on those twenty four hours often because of the excitement that I got from it.  That excitement though is always tempered by the state of the industry that they are being primed up to lead.

Trevor Cook - Director, Production Animal Consultant, Totally Vets.

St Leger Station

Firstly, I believe Waipaoa must have an excellent selection procedure - because each first group of cadets is a fine example of a group of young people it is a pleasure to know and employ. The cadets we have employed have displayed excellent basic skills, and have proven able to work well with our team and when tasked on their own, exceeding expectations. The students have been instilled with great self motivation, to be punctual and reliable and receptive to further learning and instruction. The cadtes we have hired have had career paths in their sights and the Waipaoa scheme has given them the foundation to build on to achieve it.

Rick Spence - St Leger Superior Genetics.