Winston Fleming of Kiwi Outback

17/07/2022

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2022 Finalists: Winston Fleming of Kiwi Outback – Dairy Grazing and Beef

From abandoned farm to a profitable property rich with native forests and birds including the endangered kōkako – Winston Fleming’s life journey shows what one farmer can achieve against the odds.

When his father bought the Rotorua farm in 1936, it was abandoned and had no buildings or fences. Winston took it over in the 80s and since then has expanded and developed it into the 210ha property it is today. Hunting possums, dagging sheep, fencing and selling firewood are just some of the ways he made money while transforming Kiwi Outback into a profitable business.

Today, a large portion of the property is leased out for dairy grazing, with Winston supplementing his income by fencing and selling firewood. Until recently, he kept about 3ha for cattle which he sold prime.

Essentially starting with a clean slate back in the 80s, Winston could decide which areas should be developed or retired. He started fencing off native bush in 1987 and will soon have 35 areas of reserves, 10 of which are covered by QEII Covenants. In addition, most of the carefully designed paddocks boast shade from native forest.

Since 1994, Winston has installed seven large water tanks and almost 120 concrete water troughs, along with a woolshed. Most recently he helped build his new home on the property.

Possums have almost been eliminated thanks to careful pest management, while reducing waste is another focus as Winston continues to develop the property.

Winston entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a way of demonstrating his hard work to others. And while he has plenty of ideas for further improvement, he’s also taking time to enjoy the lifestyle he has established for himself – getting off the farm for biking, tramping and hunting.

Winston is the winner of Bay Of Plenty Regional Council Farming for the Future Award.

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