Farming and Horticulture
In 1902 when the Northern Wairoa Dairy Company was first mooted several farmers gave land to be used as creameries. The actual Mangawhare factory site of one and three quarter acres was donated by Mr A E Harding. It opened with a total guarantee of 75 suppliers who between them had 1,312 cows. The farms were situated along the river at Tatariki, Raupo, Arapohue, Avoca and at the Maunganui Bluff. Where possible the cream was transported by boat.
From the green pastures and high-producing dairy herds of the region sprang an industry that traces its origins back for over a century. Immigrants were attracted to the rich lowlands of the
Every dairy farm had its piggery where squealing porkers feeding on separated whey were just a prelude to home-cured bacon. As technology changed with the age, Herringbone cowsheds replaced the walk-through wooden bails, whole milk collection began in the 1960's and every driver, on every rural road, came face to face on a daily basis, with the sleek milk tankers doing their rounds.
Our rich, warm soils are the best in the world for growing kumara and thanks to the foresight of, first the Maori, and then pioneers like Bill Evans, the purpley-red sweet potato has become a way of life up here. Just about everyone who lives here has some connection with the cultivation and harvest of Kumaras. Kumara now rates seventh in commercial value in vegetable sales in
In 1850 the Maori Kumara, until then the most common in
Commercial Kumara growing began in earnest in 1934 when local farmer Bill Evans became the first European to supply Kumara to the
Under the direction of local identity, John Nilsson, the Kauri Coast Buttercup Squash industry has survived and progressed and now plants 1,000ha. The first purpose-built packing shed constructed at Duck Creek is clearly visible on the left, 5 mins from Dargaville, to all visitors heading north to Bayly's Beach and
In the harvesting season, rows and rows of colourful, itinerant workers, secateurs at the ready, spread purposefully through the umbrella-like vines. The freshly cut squash are placed on the bin carrying harvesters. The whole scene is one of many shades of green - bright-coloured forklifts, collecting bin loads of succulent squash which are carted off to the nearest packing house where energetic graders with experienced eye to detect the slightest suggestion of blemish.
There are now three other major pack houses in the area - one at Pouto and two close to Dargaville.