Jordan Biddle and Tana Culshaw Kaisa: Pāhauwera young guns.
Jordan Biddle (21) is in the top three finalists for the Ahuwhenua Young Maori farmer award. Tana Culshaw-Kaisa at 17 is the youngest in the country to go through the application process. Their whanau, friends, and the trust couldn’t be prouder of both young men. Jordan and Tana both work at Pihanui Station, a Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust owned farm. Both young men are Pāhauwera and grew up in Raupunga. They are avid hunters and keen fishermen. We sat down to have a chat with the boys so that you could get their story in their own words.
Jordan “I have been farming full time for over 4 years. I came to Pihanui as a Junior shepherd, having worked elsewhere in the Wairoa district the previous 2 years and on a casual basis before that. I came in with two dogs and the farm leant me one more. I got skilled up on dogs from Jeremy Morecock the stock manager at the time. When he left, I ran Pihanui with the previous farm manager for 8 months until the new stock manager was employed. Tana had started coming in during the school holidays. I am keen to see Tana on a similar path to my own. It’s hard to get a foot in the door in farming if your parents don’t own a farm. For me, that is one reason why it is good the Trust has farms. Pihanui is a good breeding block, it’s a good farm. We understand that we have to go elsewhere for experience, there are others who will come through after we leave, but the aim is to come back and work at home managing Pāhauwera farms.”
Tana “I was still in school and would do pressing and fencing around the area and on Pihanui with my Uncles (Boy Culshaw and Charlie Culshaw) during the holidays. My family have worked on Pihanui for generations. I had been doing casual work in the past year working with Jordan’s dad (Deno Biddle) fencing on Pihanui. I started as a junior shepherd at Pihanui full time in January 2017. I got a pup and then two dogs and have started training them. It’s been a good process for me going through the Ahuwhenua awards. The biggest thing for us at the moment is studying for our Level 3 agricultural certificate through ITO. We are learning about livestock pasture management, maintaining sheep and beef, health and safety and stockmanship, then we will do Level 4.”
Peter MacGregor encouraged the boys to put their applications in to Ahuwhenua. Neither of the boys thought that they were ready to enter but they wanted feedback on where they could improve. Pete knew the boys from working for the Trust. “I make no apologies for twisting their arms, I recognized in Jordan a strong element of leadership, in his demeanour and directness. This is a great example of a second wave of succession planning with Tana being four or so years behind Jordan.” Pete says.
Jordan says that they were surprised to hear back and be asked by the Ahuwhenua Judges to come and interview them. Tana said it was nerve wracking because they wanted an all-round background on them and they aren’t used to being interviewed. Jordan says that he wanted specific feedback on how to improve on a daily basis with his mahi, instead the Ahuwhenua judges gave feedback around future planning and wrote to him “The Judges encourage you to stand tall. You are a leader, and you have the countenance and poise of a leader. All leaders face challenges, often the bigger the challenge indicates the greater the leader that will emerge they would like more so that they can improve and grow.” It must mean that what he is doing on a daily basis is just fine. Ka mau te wehi!
Getting to top three in the country is an achievement on its own, on the 26th of May is the judging for finalists for the Ahuwhenua awards, we wish Jordan all the best.
Ahuwhenua press release: Read more