Turning challenges into opportunities: Awapapa Managing Partner on getting through tough times

Turning challenges into opportunities: Awapapa Managing Partner on getting through tough times

Alex and Megen Campbell farm 430 hectares in Hangaroa, Gisborne, a large part of it being the original Awapapa Station.

Alex has farmed through two cyclones and tough economic downturns - one that resulted in them having to sell up. 

Now a Managing Partner of Awapapa Station, Alex Campbell told REX hosts Hamish McKay and Rebecca Greaves the devastation of Cyclone Bola had a much greater impact on the economic side of farming compared to Cyclone Gabrielle, which caused significantly more physical and structural damage.

"As far as economics, Gabrielle was a walk in the park, as far as devastation, Cyclone Bola was a walk in the park," he said.

"There was a lot of erosion and so forth in Cyclone Bola, but Gabrielle just went to another level. 

"Just a massive impact on infrastructure, roads, bridges, etc."

For farmers who feel as if they are in a bit of a rut, or struggling to maintain their property, Campbell's biggest piece of advice was to never give up.

"One of the problems in these situations is a farmer gets in trouble and people tend to stand back, it's not their financial business, don't be shy.

"Turn your challenges into opportunities, turn your problems into solutions, utilise what skills you've got to somehow or another work forward," he said, referencing a book that motivated him to endure difficult times.

"The big thing when these missiles hit you is to give it 24 hours. When the decision is made give it 24 hours, keep thinking, keep thinking and positive things do come out of it."

As someone who had no experience with horses up until six years ago and was even slightly frightened by them, Campbell has since learnt all about horses, how to manage them, train them and everything in between.

Six years on, he now manages a number of sport horses and is widely versed in the intricacies of what it takes to farm horses even importing the only herd of thoroughbred Cleveland Bay horses in the Southern Hemisphere.

Campbell continued on to talk more about the dwindling number of horses on farms in rural New Zealand, entering the balance farm environment awards and more.

Listen to the full chat between Awapapa Station Managing Partner Alex Campbell, Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay above.

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