Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 18, 2012

James and Jane join a new club

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have only just come to the East Coast – the second annual dinner has been held in Napier.

Joining inaugural 2011 East Coast winners Steve and Jane Wyn-Harris are 2012 Supreme Winners James and Jane Hunter, Porangahau, Central Hawke’s Bay.

It was mostly James – he and Jane have only been married for six of the past 20 years James has been working on the farm settled by his great grandfather, so she says she wanted him to have the credit.

Field day Wednesday April 11. Don’t miss it! Here’s their photo, press release below.

James and Jane Hunter


An “absolute passion for the land” has earned Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmer James Hunter the Supreme title in the 2012 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

James, who farms 660ha (574ha effective) of coastal hill country near Porangahau, received the award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 15.

As well as the Supreme award, he also collected the Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, the Gisborne District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council-sponsored East Coast Farming for the Future Award, the Massey University Discovery Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

BFEA judges praised the passion and commitment James and his wife Jane have shown for ‘Rangitoto’, describing the family farm as a “high-performing, well-run and planned unit”.

“Their knowledge of trees, wildlife, soils, stock and the overall performance of their farming business both financially and environmentally is outstanding.”

Rangitoto runs a mix of breeding and trading stock. Stock carried on the farm last year included 2045 breeding ewes and replacements, 500 trading hoggets, 98 breeding cows and 150R2 bulls. The farm also grows crops such as chicory, red clover and rape, with the performance of the summer crops contributing to excellent stock performance.

Judges commended the priority given to the protection of the coastal hill country land, and the Hunter’s obvious commitment to Rangitoto’s enhancement and sustainability.

James has been “very proactive in protecting waterways, creating interconnected dams and filtration zones wherever possible and protecting all native scrub and tree vegetation”.

Rangitoto has 19ha of wetlands and dams, 28ha of pine woodlots and 41ha of mainly regenerating native bush which is protected by QE II covenants. Over the years, three generations of the Hunter family have planted more than 10,000 poplar and willow poles.

BFEA judges said James is “always looking outside the square” and is not afraid to try new ideas. An example of this is the innovative use of sub-surface drainage to increase the productive potential of cultivatable mudstone slopes while minimising winter pugging and erosion.

James is a director of the QE II Trust. In the 2011 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards he won the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Habitat Improvement Award and the East Coast Farming for the Future Award.

A field day will be held on Rangitoto on Wednesday 11 April, details to be confirmed.

Award winners in the 2012 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:

  • Supreme award, Massey University Discovery Award,      WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Beef+Lamb NZ Livestock Award and      East Coast Farming For The Future Award: (sponsored by the Gisborne District Council and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council), James Hunter, ‘Rangitoto’, Porangahau, Hawke’s Bay.
  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients Nutrient Management Award and LIC Dairy Farm Award: equity managers Nick and Nicky Dawson, Great Glen Farms, Patoka, Hawke’s Bay.
  • Hill Laboratories Harvest Award and PGG Wrightson Land & Life Award: Hartree Family (Greg, Rachael and Thomas), Black Oak Ltd, Puketapu, Napier.




  1. Congrats to James and Jane: East Coast Ballance Farmer of the year.

    • Thank you Craig, I hope you enjoyed the dinner. James and Jane are Ballance Farm Environment Award winners, rather than Farmer of the Year – the HB Farmer of the Year is organised by the A&P Society and will be announced at another dinner in a few weeks. Another delicious Hawke’s Bay lamb rack or beef eye fillet coming up!

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