Tangaroa Walker, Contract Milker, Southland

Well, I started off farming and I used to get $5 bucks a week from my Uncle. I would milk some of our cows, feed the pigs and the dogs and that is what I did every day as a 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 year old. For $5 bucks a week man, so crack up, I could have him up for that aye.

So that is where it all started but I guess the passion probably comes from bridging the gap. I want to help with peoples understanding as to where our food comes from, it not a packet, it’s the farm and what actually happens on farm. It’s quite enjoyable doing it through social media, I love getting asked questions, having a laugh and helping people learn.

I was standing in a cow shed with my boss when I was about 18. He was a damn good farmer and a successful man, so I said “What do I need to do to be like you?” and he said “You have to go where the grass grows the cheapest”. Needless to say, I ended up in Southland and the rest is history. I absolutely love it down here, the diving, my new family, the rugby and all the farming opportunities.

This whole 'Farm 4 Life' journey began in 2012. I won the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the year and I remember getting up on stage and speaking about how we need to get more people involved with dairy farming. 

 

Initally, we were just going to make the  online learning Hub, but my advisor said “Mate, use your personality”. I thought nah, no one will watch me but my bro egged me on and that was when I put the first video up on the Farm 4 Life platform.

I talk to my cows, you’re out there working under the sun, the wind, you are literally working with mother nature. The birds are chirping, the cows are mooing and they all have character. You’ve got your dogs, that are your best friends, that come out with you rain, hail or shine and you’ve got your work mates. It’s a bloody awesome environment to work in.

Courtney, my better half, she’s a bit of a super wahine in her own right. She went through a bit of a journey with Olympic Weight Lifting, then decided to pursure her finance career. It wasn’t so long ago though that our little kina came along, Tekauenga.

Helping others to learn is something that I hold very close to my heart. No matter where you come from, you do the mahi, you can make it happen. 

I finally found out what success is to me. A lot of people don't really know what it is, but I do. I realised when my Uncle who whāngai and raised me came down to my first rugby game in Southland, that he had never missed a game or a training until I moved to Southland. I am not afraid of failure because I know that he will always be there. I want to be that Dad to my son and I hope that we have 1000 other kids, that is success to me.

Something I keep close to my chest is that two years of my life I lived in a tent with my mum, in the backyard of my nans orchard. We had nothing, but I remember that there was so much love. I don’t look back and think that was hard or I was sad, I was young and I thought ‘mean we get to go camping 24/7’. When the bar is so low, you come from nothing, you can trip over the thing.

 

I work with young Maori to get them into farming. I feel a sense of responsiblity, mostly since winning the award. I was given a chance by my Uncle and Aunty and I am so grateful for that. Helping others to learn is something that I hold very close to my heart. No matter where you come from, you do the mahi, you can make it happen.

I feel very grateful to be where I am today and I now know where I am happiest and that is defintely with my wahine Courtney and Tekauenga.

 

Kō Takitimu te waka

Kō Mauau te maunga

Kō Tauranga Te Moana

Kō Waipapa te awa

Kō Ngāi Te Rangi te iwi

Kō Tangaroa tōku ingoa