Myles McNaught is a man of many talents. He is a farmer, stock agent, past champion shearer and apiarist. He was born and bred in Taumarunui and spent some of the formative years clear felling bush. He recalls his boss as being a hard nut who taught the young Myles how to use common sense, a chainsaw and how to work. Myles has represented NZ in shearing and won the senior division at Golden Shears in 1989.
Myles started with Affco in 1989 when he gave up shearing, transferring to Rotorua with Affco in 1998. I can personally attest to Myles skill on the drafting gate, he is still calm and concentrating after processing several thousand lambs! Being a stock agent is clearly a career choice that suits Myles. “I like dealing with farmers on a one to one basis on their properties. I get to meet a lot of characters and no two days are the same. Plus its great being outdoors” he says. Myles has seen the Rotorua District transform in his 17 years here. “Due to financial pressures on dry stock farmers there has been huge changes in land use in this area to dairy, and dairy support in particular over the last few years”
Myles and his partner Tracey Friend farm a mix of owned and leased land totalling 65 hectares on Dansey Road. There is 20 hectares in retired catchment area and the balance of 45 hectares runs 85 beef heifers and approximately 135 Romney breeding ewes.
Their property is full of gullies and mini wetlands that lead down to the Ngongotaha stream and Myles and Tracey have been very conscious of the health of the local waterway. Pines have been replaced with natives specifically chosen for their bird and bee attracting properties. There are plans to retire and plant another 5 hectares in the next year or so. They have planted along the stream edge and added watercress in the wetlands where the water pools prior to entering the stream. This benefit is twofold, extracting nitrogen from the water and providing watercress for Tracey to make yummy soup with!
Tracey has a business manufacturing and wholesaling NZ cosmetics and food products. All the products are NZ made and are sold through tourism outlets, spas and exported. The business, based in Rotorua has been in the family for 35 years and Tracey has run it for the last 10 years. The plans that Tracey and Myles have to integrate their two businesses through the innovative use of their land are exciting.
“We have bee hives now and are trying to grow our numbers of bees with the hope of collecting all our own honey to use in our cosmetics business. Also we plan to change part of the farm to grow more of our own cosmetics ingredients such as Kawakawa and Horopito. We would love to have control over the growing of all our raw ingredients” Tracey says. The potential synergies between their two businesses are resulting in increased biodiversity on their land which gives Myles and Tracey both a lot of satisfaction. “We just want to improve our little bit of paradise”.