Wairarapa College has offered agriculture and horticulture as a study option for its students since 1922. The original 6.33ha WaiCol Block, which is owned by the school, was added to in 1955 when the 14.44ha Ngaumutawa Block was leased from Masterton Trust Lands Trust.
The present day 19.77ha school farm is a working sheep and beef farm with a horticultural block educates students from Years 9-13 in
Agricultural and Horticultural Science.
The farmland is well-matched with infrastructure and equipment, including a two-stand open board woolshed, two sets of purpose built
sheep yards, newly built cattle yards (with a vet crush and weigh bars), a horticultural and potting shed and a large implement shed and hay shed. A Mitsubishi Tractor MT450 is used with a range of implements for cultivation.
On-farm activities undertaken by the students include fencing, vaccinating, dagging, shearing, docking and weighing stock. They also assist with the EID tagging of all stock. Growth rates, pregnancy scanning and animal health procedures are loaded on to FARMIQ.
The farm is run as both a breeding and finishing unit for a variety of livestock including the Kaimac sheep – the College’s own unique breed. It breeds it’s own replacement ewes and looks to finish approximately 220 lambs per annum.
Cattle include dairy/beef cross heifer calves which were reared by students in 2020. They are being grown out and will be mated with a view to producing offspring for finishing over the next year.
The horticulture block holds 175 olive trees. Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino olives are harvested each year and their premium olive oil is marketed and sold locally.
Masterton is a rural service centre surrounded by a thriving agriculture industry. An agricultural education is therefore a natural calling for so many of Wairarapa College’s students and is one of the school’s most influential courses.