Murray & Kaye Jackson and Cruise & Sarah Hamilton of Te Kupe Station


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2023 Finalists: Murray & Kaye Jackson and Cruise & Sarah Hamilton of Te Kupe Station – Sheep, Beef and Forestry

The family behind 100-year-old Te Kupe Station is on a mission to transform the business in the hope of creating a long-lasting legacy for generations to come.

The families of Murray and Kaye Jackson, and Cruise and Sarah Hamilton, are managing the transition of Te Kupe so it runs Australian white sheep. If the low-maintenance breed adapts to New Zealand conditions and becomes established, the team expects it to be a game-changer in terms of the station’s efficiency.

Australian white sheep do not need shearing or fly strike prevention because they shed their coarse hair coat. They are high-yielding, fast-growing sheep, and the ewes are polyoestrous which enables them to have lambs every six or eight months. They can also withstand diverse weather conditions – from freezing snow to searing heat.

Innovation and experimentation are key themes for the family at the 400ha farm. The well-established property is characterised by rolling to steep hills, with income derived from a mix of forestry, carbon, sheep and beef.

The team currently runs 1,200 breeding ewes and 90 Angus cows. A carefully planned water reticulation system helps to keep the animals healthy in what is considered a challenging environment. A drone is used to muster stock, which helps cut down travel distances.

Their focus on sustainability extends to land use, with low-production areas planted into forestry as a way of gaining carbon credits. About 51ha is in radiata pine on a 24-year rotation, with 32ha of this currently registered in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Trees are planted to reduce erosion, and the families are working with the Hill Country Erosion Fund to help protect soils. They also benefit from the 49 ha of native bush areas that are being preserved and protected, including areas that have QEII National Trust status.

Murray & Kaye and Cruise & Sarah are the winners of the NZFET Biodiversity Award.

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