Having no family of his own, before Donald Pearson passed away, he bequeathed his 74-hectare farm near Whitford in Auckland to NZ Young Farmers, giving them the opportunity to continue showcasing the agri-sector as a positive career pathway to New Zealand’s younger generations.
Fonterra Area Manager for Regional Waikato, Bill Hanson, says he knew and worked with Donald and gifting his farm lined up with his values in life.
“Donald lived a simple life. He didn’t waste money on embellishments, but he meticulously maintained his farm and kept it up to date. He lived by high ethical standards, had a strong connection to the land and embraced our co-operative spirit.
“Donald wanted to see that spirit passed onto the next generation and he believed NZ Young Farmers would be able to help make that happen.”
NZ Young Farmers say they intend to honour Donald’s wishes, turning it into a place for young Aucklanders to learn the ins-and-outs of farming, and are forming a board to govern and guide the operation of the farm. They hope it can be a showcase for horticulture, sheep and beef, as well as dairy farming, and even feature some roles and services beyond the farm gate.
At present, 39 per cent of all high school students are living in Auckland, compared to only 29 per cent living in rural areas. Having this facility in the heart of Auckland provides value to the farming industry and will play a significant role in the Ministry of Primary Industries’ target of attracting an extra 50,000 employees to the sector by 2025.