The wider Roe family has been farming at Mamaku for well over 100 years and were one of the first in the area to supply milk to the Reporoa dairy factory which opened in the early 1960s.
John and Wendy Roe made the switch from their dairy grazing business to milking in 2012 when they bought their new Dansey Rd property. Farming 576 metres above sea level, Roesville Farm currently milks 600 cows on 333ha of rolling pasture. Farming is definitely in the blood with all four of Wendy and John’s children helping out on the farm. Their daughter Karen is currently managing the farm while Sandy and Andrew help out when they can. Their eldest son Michael, currently in Brasil working for Fonterra on a dairy conversion, looks forward to coming home to Roesville between assignments.
John is renowned in the district for his outstanding pasture management practices. “No matter what’s happening in the bigger economic picture, you always need to look after your soil consistently, in good times and bad. This is a philosophy that has been passed down our family for generations”, says John.
Wendy and John are committed to protecting the remaining pockets of native bush on Roesville. Working voluntarily and with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, they have fenced off 10 areas of rimu, tawa and miro that are now protected by QEII National Trust covenants. “We’re here as caretakers. It’s our job to look after the land for future generations” says John.
Wendy was the Chair of the Collective in 2013-2014. She believes the Collective offers the right vehicle for farmers to speak out about the draft nutrient rules and that consultation is key to ensuring the farmer’s perspective is heard. “Consultation is really important, we’re working really hard to get Council to understand farmers’ issues. Farmers need to support each other as we try and make sense of how the draft nutrient rules are going to affect our livelihoods” says Wendy.