Planting the Future: Waipaoa Cadet Scheme Moving South

Planting the Future: Waipaoa Cadet Scheme Moving South

Farm Cadet Training Trust Chair Tim Rhodes delves into the significant relocation of the Waipaoa Cadet Scheme from its historical Gisborne site to Northern Hawke's Bay, driven by the necessity for stability after the sale of Waipaoa Station left the program's future hanging in the balance. 

The relocation is more than a mere change of scenery; it symbolises a resilient commitment to the scheme's legacy and the unwavering vision for the future. 

"The Joan Fernie Trust and the Waipaoa Cadet Training Trust would like it to work … We've just got a bit of final due diligence to do," Rhodes explains.

This move, supported by the Joan Fernie Trust's provision of three farms, is set to enhance the program's comprehensive training, which already boasts a remarkable breadth, teaching cadets everything from fence building to sophisticated stock work. 

Rhodes provides a vivid snapshot of the cadet scheme's success and the critical skills imparted to the cadets.

"They'll break in two huntaways and a heading dog, so at the end of two years they'll come out of this with three broken-in dogs, knowledge on how to break in and ride a horse, build a fence, do water systems." 

This rigorous curriculum ensures that graduates emerge not as mere junior shepherds but as well-prepared, multifaceted agricultural professionals ready for the demands of the industry. 

The conversation also touches upon the financial realities of running such an initiative. Cadets contribute to their education, and sponsors play a pivotal role, highlighting the need for continued support to keep the program flourishing. 

Rhodes expresses gratitude for the unwavering support, "We've got absolutely fantastic sponsors and a lot of them have been with us right from the beginning." 

The program's focus is not only on immediate training but also on fostering long-term relationships and networking opportunities for cadets, providing them with exposure to bankers, soil scientists, and veterinarians. 

As the Waipaoa Cadet Scheme navigates its transition, there's a palpable sense of optimism for its future. Rhodes's parting words encapsulate the essence of the episode.

"We're unsure [of the future funding model]...but we'll hope to take a lot of those sponsors with us when we move." 

This conversation celebrates the dedication and foresight that goes into cultivating the next generation of New Zealand's agricultural leaders, who are crucial to the country's farming future.

Listen to the full chat between Tim Rhodes and Dominic George above.

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