M. Brosnan. Paper presented to the New Zealand Grasslands Association Conference Alexandra – 3 to 6 November 1986
A CHANGE IN ATTITUDES TO SEMI-ARID LAND USE IN THE HAKATARAMEA VALLEY
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am often called a “GREENIE” and feel very comfortable with this title. Now, there are two types of greenies: the type that talks about what should be done – often “the teachers.” Then there’s those out there with mud on their hands, proving that conservation systems can actually work. Most of the latter, “the doers”, are not good at articulating their valuable knowledge and experience.
This paper outlines an attempt to turn “Riverside”, our farm, into a conservation demonstration property, within the confines of the prevailing economic situation. In other words to SHOW that conservation methods, or working with nature rather than against, actually works and pays.
Encouraged by past Government Policies, the more progressive ones amongst us have pushed production to the limit. Previously, as Meat and Wool Chairman of North Otago, I opposed Government’s policies of encouraging farmers to produce more and more for less and less. In many cases, under these policies we have pushed the land beyond its sustainable limits, especially under dryland conditions.
High stock numbers, shallow rooting grasses and lucerne which gapes out, created ideal conditions for a massive wind blow. This happened during the recent two year drought. It shifted large amounts of the beautiful Hakataramea Valley out to sea (Cover photo). This recently motivated the people of the valley to set up the Kurow-Haka Resource Conservation Committee to address the crisis and the direction of long-term land management