Kiri Tapsell of Pūkenga Farms


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2024 Bay of Plenty Finalists: Kiri Tapsell of Pūkenga Farms – Kiwifruit and Beef

A long-standing connection to the land drives Kiri Tapsell as he improves both profits and environmental performance at this Te Puke kiwifruit and beef property. 
Kiri grew up on Pūkenga Farms which was previously run by his grandfather and then his parents. Under Kiri’s full-time guidance in recent years, the farm has transitioned from dairy to kiwifruit and beef.  
The judges were impressed with how Kiri is focused on ensuring both the farm and orchard operations work together to be profitable. This is carefully balanced against the continuous improvement of the property’s environmental performance. 
Green, gold and red kiwifruit are planted across 17ha of the property, while 80 beef breeding cows are farmed across a further 125ha.  
The judges were impressed with water management on the property, with all drains fenced, and stock entirely excluded from artificial water courses. There’s plenty of clean, fresh water thanks to regular monitoring and careful irrigation in the orchard.  
Kiri is trialing new ideas for soil health and nutrition – based on a deep knowledge of soil health and fertility. One new initiative is crimping grass swords to reduce mowing and ultimately protect the soil. Kiri’s also trialing new ways of reducing orchard waste – another illustration of his openminded approach. 
Diversification and planning for future changes is a key characteristic of Kiri’s farming and growing practices. He has retired low-lying areas from grazing enhancing the natural environment while also boosting the farm’s efficiency and keeping him ahead of changing regulations. 
While Kiri is incredibly committed to Pūkenga Farms, he also appreciates the value of work-life balance for himself, his family and his workers.   
Pūkenga Farms looks set to thrive into the future under Kiri’s guidance, thanks to his longstanding connection to the land and his commitment to protecting and enhancing it.

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