Meet the farming families behind Wools of New Zealand
Okepuha Station has a bird’s eye view of the Mahia Peninsula and Richard and Hannah Coop love farming the windswept Hawke’s Bay coastline.
Richard and Hannah are the fourth generation Coops to farm at Mahia in more than a century. The family’s long association with the peninsula began back in 1905 when land was bought by Richard’s great grandfather. The 940ha Okepuha Station was farmed by Richard’s parents, Will and Cathy, from the 1970s until recently when Richard and Hannah took over the farm business.
Moving back to the farm eight years ago, Richard immersed himself in the family business eventually taking the reins and the overall management of the family block. The couple bought the stock, plant and machinery and lease the land from a family trust.
Through their long association with the area the Coop family have shown a deep commitment to the land and the community of Mahia. Richard and Hannah employ two locals as a shepherd and a general hand - Kingi Winiata Jnr and Charly Harrison – and others throughout the season when required. Part of the Green Ribbon Award-winning Whangawehi Catchment Group, which, with help from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, has funded a planting and fencing project (10ha fenced and 27,000 natives planted) on Okepuha Station.
“We have the big picture in mind. We’re planting all these natives and there are so many other things that make up the word ‘farming’. Mum’s father was a bit of a legend back in the day. He said, ‘If you look after the land, it will look after you.’ We like that. We’re privileged to be doing what we’re doing so we’re putting in as much aswe can and hopefully, we’ll get it back.” - Richard Coop
Currently under the guardianship of Harriet and Lloyd Chapman, the Lavericks Bay farm is situated on the eastern tip of Banks Peninsula, Canterbury. The bay was first settled by Harriet’s ancestors in 1858, and Harriet and Lloyd’s children are the seventh generation to live in Lavericks Bay.
Currently the farm is 1000 hectares running 3000 ewes and 150 cows and finishing all their young stock.