Meeting Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the Year 2022, Chloe Butcher-Herries.
Assistant Farm Manager Chloe Butcher-Herries (Ngāti Mahanga/Waikato-Tainui), is passionate about sheep and beef farming. In 2022 she was awarded the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the Year Trophy for excellence in Māori farming (Sheep and beef).
Chloe knew from a young age that she wanted to work on the land. Spending time on an uncle’s farm gave her a taste for farming and she left school at 16 to take up a general shepherd role. With a deep love for the whenua and a particular passion for dog work, she gravitated towards sheep and beef, moving to Robert and Helen Pattullo’s beef operation at Newstead Farm in 2018. Newstead is an intensive bull beef operation 15 minutes from Napier in Puketapu. They buy in Friesian bulls in April and start sending them to the works from November.
Newstead, and the mentorship of Robert Pattullo has proved the making of this young farmer. Chloe speaks of how conversations with Robert and having someone that supported her and “had her back”, got her thinking bigger. She started to see and think about the science and business of farming, and she wanted to learn more.
Robert has been committed to learning and together they regularly attend farm open days and workshops. He encouraged Chloe to work towards a formal qualification. Chloe says for a long time she was “just a girl on a motorbike shifting animals around”, she wasn’t aware of why she was doing a lot of what she did. Chloe is now working towards her diploma in Primary Industries.
Chloe’s learning has given her the confidence to hold an opinion and to contribute to the industry she loves. She talks of the importance of attending He Waka Eke Noa consultations – of being part of a way forward and the future of farming. Doing right by the whenua and caring well for people on the farm are essential elements for Chloe. Chloe’s mahi and professional growth was recognized by the Pattullos in 2020 when they promoted her to Assistant Farm Manager.
While incredibly proud of winning the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award, Chloe is also humble. She had seen advertisements but didn’t think she was worthy. However, Robert encouraged her to enter.
The Ahuwhenua Trophy acknowledges and celebrates business excellence in New Zealand's pastoral and horticultural sectors. The competition is held annually, alternating each year between dairy and sheep & beef, and now also horticulture. Entry requires that young farmers be able to clearly demonstrate they are in the majority decision making position relating to the farming operation. It enables multiple opportunities for entrants to broaden their networks – and importantly to realise their own potential as role-models and mentors for others.
Chloe wants to help others to find their place on the land – she says young Māori are hard kaimahi and she wants to inspire and enable others to follow in her footsteps. She is generous in acknowledging the support around her that enabled her to shine and advance at what she loves. She also credits the support of her wife Makita.
Makita, who is People and Culture Advisor for Ngāi Tukairangi Orchards, stands strong beside her wife in wanting to support other Māori to see the enormous potential and opportunities in farming and horticulture. Makita has inspired Chloe to learn more about her culture and tikanga and is actively studying te reo Māori. Chloe says she can now fully understand her love of farming and connection to the whenua – it’s intrinsically part of who she is - part of her wairua - she is proud to be Māori.
Chloe is working towards a future goal of managing a sheep and beef operation. She and Makita dream of owning a small cottage and block of their own land. And they’re well on the way – growing their careers and a portfolio of rental properties.