New role at Papahaua reaffirms passion for land

New role at Papahaua reaffirms passion for land
Papahaua Station’s diverse landscape covers 6315ha of steep to rolling hill country in the Waimarino district near Raetihi.

Just over three months ago, Justin Booth stepped into his new role as farm manager of Papahaua Station.
He’s excited, determined to succeed and understandably a little overwhelmed but climbing the ladder was a necessary part of supporting his horse-mad family, wife Sarah and two young children aged 6 and 2.
You hear it time and again, but it’s a genuine love of the outdoors that has kept Justin on the farming path and a particular love of Papahaua Station’s landscape and the vision of Awhi as a corporation that has seen him take up this opportunity – not just expensive horse gear.
Encompassing 6315ha of steep to rolling hill country with dense, bush-clad gullies and slopes of manuka and other native forest, the diverse terrain has so much to offer.
When Justin first began working for Awhi at Papahaua Station, he was hired as a general shepherd. He admits it was the “great land for working the dogs,” that grabbed his attention.
He held that position for four years before taking on a new role in Waitotara Valley where he stayed for two years.
Within that two years though, Justin came back to Papahaua Station to compete in the Tux Handy Dog Trials where three of his huntaways qualified for the finals; dog work clearly a passion. When the opportunity arose to come back to Papahaua permanently as a head shepherd, Justin couldn’t resist.
It’s the combination of dog work, prime pig, deer and goat-hunting country, horseback musters and expansive views that seem to have him hooked.
He has since stepped up to management and is enjoying the new challenge. The property is a sheep and beef breeding property that runs 22,000 stock units on 3,750ha of effective land.
In line with Awhi’s care initiatives, all stock on Papahaua are raised to live the best life possible; grass-fed, free range and free from artificial growth hormones.

New role at Papahaua reaffirms passion for land
Papahaua Station runs 22,000 stock units. Horses and dogs are essential on the steep hill country.

 
The angus cattle, once weaned, are sent to Ohakune where Awhi has two fattening farms. The perendales are sent to Ohakune as stores.
Having worked on Papahaua previously, Justin has a fair understanding of what works and what doesn’t and he has returned with the determination to give the station his all.
“I am just eager to do well, make sure everything works and we get good results,’ he says.
His short stint, to date, as manager has seen him spending quite a lot of time indoors, “I am not getting out on the farm as much as I would like to,” he says. Understanding the business-end of farming, he knows, will take a bit of time.
“I try to get outside as often as I can with the dogs and horses . I think in a few months, once I’ve got my head around it properly, it will be a lot easier.”
He is helped along with a good team on farm; a general hand, two shepherds and a newly-appointed head shepherd.
Justin knows putting in the hard-yards now will set him up better for the future and the more time he spends indoors figuring out the paperwork is just reaffirming his passion for the land.
Awhi operates with the belief that there is a natural kinship between people and the natural environment and Justin feels that in his bones.
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