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Innovation, determination Percy’s legacy

Innovation, determination Percy’s legacy
Hinerangi Station’s von Dadelszen family.

The one hundred year-old story of Hinerangi Station had its beginnings when Percy Frederick Wall successfully drew a ballot for 607 hectares (1511 acres) 20 kilometres south of Waipukurau, Hawkes Bay, on April 25 1901.

The station, one of 48 farms up for ballot, comprised limestone hills ranging from 650 to 1800 feet above sea level and was clear country except for 12ha of bush which is still standing today. At the time there were no roads, fences, buildings or plantations, just a boundary fence.

All materials required were hauled in by bullock wagon. Percy lived in a tent while he built his fi rst two roomed whare, where he lived until he built a house in 1906.

He began farming with new ideas, initially regarded with suspicion by his fellow settlers, and in 1902 introduced Southdown rams for breeding fat sheep and also initiated ploughing before sowing rape and turnips to fatten lambs.

In the autumn of 1903 the lambs were shipped to Smithfi eld market in London, where they sold for the same price as the best Canterbury lambs.

Later, when diffi culties with contract ploughing became acute, Percy began to fatten the lambs straight off the ewes feeding on grass; this worked really well, especially after the introduction of topdressing with superphosphate.

The genesis of the modern day connection with the station was in 1908 when Percy purchased a run of 3000 acres almost adjoining Hinerangi to settle his two daughters; Mary, who married Godfray von Dadelszen, inherited 1600 acres and her sister Judith Ormond inherited 1400 acres.

Following Percy’s death in 1953, Godfray who was by then a returned serviceman, took over the management of Percy’s estates, including Hinerangi Station.

When Godfray died suddenly of a heart attack in 1970, his 23-year-old son, Dan, returned to New Zealand to manage the station. Dan married Caroline in 1972 and the couple became Hinerangi’s owners after freeholding the station for $110,000 in 1981.

“I flew home in September 1970 and took charge of the station. There were good, competent staff to work with and I felt I could do the job,” Dan says.

Subsequent improvements to the farm included subdivision of paddocks, improved water reticulation and regular fertiliser application. The station’s breeding cows were sold and replaced with fattening steers and bulls and deer were introduced in May 1980.

About this time the Wall estate was distributed to 10 beneficiaries, with the von Dadelszen family taking over Hinerangi and the Ormond family receiving Makerua farm.

Now aged 71, Dan says there were some bleak times in farming during the 1980s and 1990s. The von Dadelszen’s have three adult children, Sam, Victoria and Lucinda.

In 2000, Sam took over the management of the station after gaining a Bachelor of Commerce, Agriculture VFM at Lincoln University and working as a rural bank manager for four years.

Sam is part of a new generation of farmers who use all the available technology, Dan says.

“Sam’s wife, Sarah and their three boys Guy, Jonty, and Logan make a formidable farming partnership.” Today, Hinerangi comprises 960ha effective, supporting 4300 breeding ewes and bulls.

From 2002 to 2014 three other properties were purchased by the family; one of these, an 80ha block owned by Sam was sold in 2007, the same year he bought 230ha adjoining Hinerangi which made the station up to the 960ha effective it is today.

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