Tangaroa Walker - farmer for life


Tangaroa Walker: I found with a lot of farmers, we are so flat out we just want to get the job done and you never get a understanding for why you're actually doing that job. A lot of farmers at the moment are complaining about staff not having initiative - it's probably because the people that they worked for previously didn't teach them the why, they just taught them the how. 

I was 21 or 22 years old when I went contract milking I didn't know what I was doing, to be honest you know, I was just winging it. The best person to learn off in terms of how to do things is somebody that's actually doing it. I really want to try and encapsulate that with Farm 4 Life so that people that are trying to be successful at 22 or 23 years old will have that information available for them.

I'm Tangaroa Walker and I'm a dairy farmer in Southland. We're at Mirakanui Dairy Ltd Partnership, we're running a 570 cow dairy farm and we're milking off 180 hectares. I'm contract milking on this farm and I employ two staff and a calf-rearer. I'm originally from Tauranga.

The little lifestyle block that I was brought up on we used to have our school cross country on the farm and this guy turned up and he had this awesome car. This guy hops out of his car and his missus hopped out and she was beautiful and I was like 'Far out, who's this guy?' and he walked up in his overalls and I was like 'Gidday man, what do you do for a job?' and he was like 'Oh, I'm a farmer'. Sort of inspired me a little bit. I ended up going to work for that guy when I was 13.

I was gardening and then the next minute I was milking and next minute he was going away on holiday and I was trying to run the farm for him while he was away and all of a sudden here I am. 'Chur guys whaddup, welcome back to Farm 4 Life'.

'We're gonna have a bit of a race, we're just setting up our springer paddock. 3, 2, 1, go'.

So Farm 4 Life is like an educational social media site, it's sort of just started by accident really. I was just filming myself on the farm and people were asking heaps of questions and thought it was quite cool and then I've got a few private messages around people just saying that it's really helped in their farming journey or people that were at school were saying 'Oh I really want to go farming now.'

So it sort of gave me a bit of drive to feed that sort of information through to those people. Now it's a responsibility that I sort of try and paint the full picture of dairy farming walking the walk while I'm talking the talk. With the farm lifestyle and that, you get caught up in the farm and you know all its stresses and whatnot and then I met my partner and she introduced me to this thing called Crossfit and I was like 'Holy shit I bloody like the buzz I get here' so we decided to open up a functional fitness gym in town in Invercargill called The Barracks, so that's a really good outlet for me - being able to get people fit healthy and create a really cool workout environment at our gym is awesome.

What makes dairy farming a bloody awesome career to be in is there's just so much different shit to do on the farm. One day I'll be like in town with my bank manager and my accountant blah-ing on about budgets and then the next day I'll be like knees deep in a bloody pond or I might be addressing my staff about a situation that's happened on the farm or I'll be teaching them or I'll be videoing stuff.

Who's that stranger? Hey can you fix that trough while you're there? There's so many different aspects of farming and I can comfortably support my family. We've got a good secure house, we've got meat, we've got milk. It's just a really solid platform to raise a family on and I can't wait to bring up my son on my farm so it'll be wicked.