Welcome to the autumn / winter news – most areas of New Zealand have had RAIN, some of us, just a bit too much… but grass growth seems to have been great for almost everyone! First news – the 2017 ‘Naki tour… We drove home from the Taranaki Tour in heavy rain-like everyone else did-luckily almost everyone out there was driving to the conditions, o a safe  journey… Another 100mls of rain here at home did not cause any damage – just very muddy July type farm tracks! Our Dorper / Wiltshire ewes are getting on with lambing, the warm rain has not worried them. We are battling to control the kikuyu in our pastures, it has thrived with mild wet weather, but must be chewed down to let the better quality winter pasture and clover, come through.. The coastal sand country we are sharefarming has thrived, with the store cattle having tidied up rank pastures over summer, better feed is finally emerging-lots of clover!

The Taranaki 2017 Tour Team, Jury Farm, Stratford.

THE TOUR was blessed with mild, mostly sunny weather-perfect for discovering the ‘Naki’. Bus driver Peter was a Stratford local, so he knew exactly how long each journey would take – so everything fitted  in perfectly. All 14 tourists arrived and settled in to the Devon hotel on the Sunday, fitting in a social buffet dinner, and a quick committee meeting that evening. 8am Monday saw us heading for Hawera, where a quick look around a (still sleepy at 9am) Hawera, a coffee, then to artist Nigel  Ogles’ Tawhiti Museum. Maxine and John had recommended a morning here, and sure enough, even the doubters found plenty to entertain and study here… all the hand made figures, cenery, dioramas and special effects were outstanding, as was the comprehensive display of farming machinery, farm equipment, and the original bedroom and story of Hawera writer, Ronald Hugh Morrieson… topped off by the Badgers ’Rest café, where exquisite figures of the Wind in the Willows characters were on display. Lunch was walked off at Hollard Gardens, Kaponga (we passed the Kapuni gas plant, where Balance has a huge urea plant, en route) – one of three gardens generously administered by the Taranaki Regional Council – free admission, and a free cuppa too… These gardens were established by Bernard and Rose Hollard on part of a dairy farm, beginning in 1927; like most Taranaki gardens, they are best visited in spring, when the rhododendrons are in bloom, but there was plenty of autumn colour for our visit. From here, it was back to the Devon for our AGM, where the Watson room was ideal, set out with notepads, pens – and a bar. The meeting went well (see minutes,attached), and was completed in time for us to return to the hotel buffet for a second grand meal (it was possible to have soup, an entrée, main course and dessert, with a huge selection… many of us did not require breakfasts!)

The high point of the Tour was always going to be Tuesday morning – the long awaited visit to the Jury family farm, at Makahu, just off the Forgotten World highway – east of Stratford. A quick coffee and walk around Stratford, and we took the winding road, negotiating a 100 metre tunnel, en route to the Jury farm. We were met by three generations of the Jury family: Alan and Linley, who began the families’ connection to Salers cattle, having purchased some females from Rusty Jackson,”way back”; Paul and Robyn; and their son, Shane, who is now fulltime on the 1900 hectare farm. The Salers herd have been developed – firstly with some Devon genetics, but more recently, utilising Angus and Angus / Salers genetics from the Cameron familys’ Ngaputahi Station. It was a great pleasure to view numbers of Salers, and Angus Salers cattle, all in top order, and clearly thriving on a real hill country farm, though with some great contour amongst the harder hills. The whole farm looked clean and productive, with a balance of mature bush. A huge thank-you to the Jury family for opening their farm to us, and giving us a morning to walk us through the groups of cattle, and discuss the farming operation – all stock are finished on-farm, to good weights.

The Salers, Salersx Angus breeding cows, showing the Jury family
farms’ steeper hills in the background.

Salers Angus weaner heifers

Forbes Cameron, Paul Jury, Ian McNaughton, Maxine Gerke, Ken Bain… talking bull?

Next stop was the Whangamomona Hotel – only 36km, but a long and winding road over the Whangamomona Saddle; a delay for road works added more time to the journey, so we were well ready for lunch, the character hotel proved a great stop, with homemade meals quickly produced for us. We retraced our journey as far as the old rail stop at Te Wera, where we met Dave Digby from Forgotten World Adventures – Robyn Jury had put us in touch with Dave, who was able to tailor a one hour rail cart trip for us, along the Stratford-Okahukura rail line, which was completed in 1936. Now leased by the railcart operators, it is possible to have trips lasting up to four days, combining rail and boat. We traveled through farmland to the next original stop at Douglas, negotiating one tunnel, several bridges and road crossings. Carol Digby had a welcome cuppa for us, then it was back to New Plymouth. Wednesday dawned fine and sunny; we decided to head for the city centre, taking in the Len Lye / Govett Brewster gallery, the Puke Ariki museum – and, just time for shops before heading to the Motunui Methanex plant, north of the city. Lead Process Engineer, Adam gave us a comprehensive talk on the operations undertaken here… we now now that Methanex is a Canadian owned country, that most of the production (gas converted to liquid) is exported by tanker, much of it to China; and that the gas fields, both at sea, and under the actual plant, and various sites in the locality, are large but not inexhaustible. One more banquet at the Devon buffet, and that was 2017 Naki tour, done and dusted – roll on 2018, where we are looking to head north, possibly mid-June… watch this space…

Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth.

The International Tour is still not set in concrete, and it is not recommended to book any flights etc, until the official Tour is confirmed – but Ron Coomber, international President, has sketched a tempting outline, starting in Paris, Wednesday 26th September,and including 2 nights in the Salers Village, plus 3, 4, 5th October at the Sommet  Elevage International show (Salers feature breed) at Clermont-Ferrand, with the official tour ending on the 6th October. So far, Bev, Gwen, Myra,t he Gerkes and McNaughtons are planning to attend – all welcome! Please let me know if you are thinking about attending – I will be sure to keep you in the loop as information comes to hand…

Congratulations to the Gerke family, soon heading to Lawrence to receive their Century Farms plaque, issued to family farms which have been in the same familys’ ownership for 100 years or more… The Murphy team are currently working on their application for the next tranche of awards.. John and Maxine hosted a Scottish Salers farmer, Neil Austin, who found them via the Website (yay!) – Neil can be contacted on

Congratulations to the Cameron family team for an unprecedented 2nd win in the Glammies, with a Steak of Origin win also to their credit, there is clearly a great recipe going on out in the Pohangina! This win has been topped off with a win for Lachlan Cameron in the Hoof / Junior Handler part of the Hoof and Hook competition ..

We missed the Harvie family, John, Tricia, James and Grace, who were touring the US and Canada during our Tour, but Johns’ report can be read in the Minutes / AGM.

STOP PRESS. We are now on Facebook, check out New Zealand Salers Cattle – thanks to Michaela McCracken for setting this up for us!

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always needing fresh stuff for our newsletters…