Hauraki Plains College
Agriculture students at Hauraki Plains College work their own farm.
Hauraki Plains College is located at Ngatea. It is a co-ed school for around 700 children from year 9 to 13.
One feature of the school is that has really strong connections to the local community. A key partnership is the Haurakian Charitable Trust which was established in 2004. It was set up to support continuing developments at the College by providing cultural, recreational and educational opportunities and resources. In 2006 the Trust purchased nearby Hayward Farm. The land has links to the college through the Hayward family, who were early pioneers in the community. The farm purchase was made through community financial support.
Hayward Farm is operated by a contract milker , it covers 69ha and carries 180 cows. Profits from the farm go to college projects such as computer facilities.
Around 120 students use the farm as a venue for Agriculture Studies. The college has been offering agriculture for students since the mid 1990s. Agriculture was introduced as a subject in response to increasingly demand for farm employees with greater skills. The idea was to keep more children employed locally and make them more “job ready”.
A meeting was organized locally to oversee the initiative and a six member committee was appointed.
Prior to the purchase of the farm courses were run on local farms. Agriculture teacher Logan Taylor would ferry students from the college to the various farms and then pick them up at the end of each day.
The farm trainers were picked through the local network – they were chosen because they were better than average farmers and were located close enough to the school.
Logan Taylor says the Agriculture courses he teaches at Hauraki Plains are mostly practical. The courses are based on Ag ITO (now Primary ITO) Level 1 and 2 certificates.
Students complete practical work under supervision on the farm and cover the theory in class at school. Year 10 is a half-year taster course. Year 11 is the Primary Industries course with a large practical content included. Year 12 is an extension from Year 11, covering areas such as spraying, chemicals, tractors, beef, deer and similar fields.
Funding has historically come via Gateway with topping up from normal school budget in addition to what can be made from the farm.
Logan says he generally takes the kids out in small groups. They start with basic skills like how to run out a fence line to more complicated tasks like tractor driving – building post and rail fences. Naturally Health and Safety is a big part of any practical work on the property.
Before he started at Hauraki Plains College, Logan says he had 10 years in the airforce then moved onto oilrigs. He started off on his wife’s parent’s farm and then started to get into teaching – which has now become his passion.
The Haurakian Charitable Trust is currently looking to a buy a bigger farm. The proposed new property is 182ha and capable of carrying 500 cows.