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 COMPANY PROFILES

Pultron Composites Ltd
[Fibreglass pultrusions - design and manufacture]

Leaderbrand Produce Ltd
[Horticultural production and marketing businesses]

Gisborne District Council
[Unitary authority responsible for administration of Gisborne region]

Montana Wines Ltd
[New Zealand's largest wine producer and exporter]

Tairawhiti District Health
[District Health Board providing health and disability services]

Tairawhiti Polytechnic
[Tertiary education]

Eastland Infrastructure Ltd
[Electrical Utilities, Port and Airport Infrastructure Management]

Fulton Hogan Ltd
[Roading, Quarrying, Civil Engineering Services]

The Gisborne Herald Ltd
[Daily newspaper]
FARMING  
Some of the richest soil and most productive land in the country has been the foundation of the district's economic growth. Today the produce from the Poverty Bay Flats, the fruit, vegetables and many other crops are exported worldwide and our sheep and cattle are noted for the quality of production.

It is believed that the first sheep were brought to the region in 1850 - the sheep were Lincolns. The following year it was recorded that seven sheep were being run at Tolaga Bay and some were also grazing at Rangitukia on the East Coast. The first large consignment, comprising 200 Merinos, was shipped from Sydney. From then on more shipments of sheep and cattle swelled numbers.

It was not until 1866 that the first overland drive of sheep was made into Poverty Bay. A mob was brought via Mohaka under the charge of pioneer Captain W.H. Tucker, who was manager of G.S. Cooper's property at Pouawa. Early farmers found Merinos were not suitable for the heavy pastures and they were replaced by Lincolns and later Romneys, with Southdown rams as terminal sires.

As stations were broken in other industries sprang up on the back of farm production. Huge volumes of wool were shipped to London for sale, many thousands of bales were loaded on to ships off the East Coast. And following the implementation of frozen meat shipments, thousands of carcases were exported by refrigerated ships. In 1874 sheep numbers had grown to just under 200,000. By 1889 figures had climbed to half a million and just under two million were recorded by 1910. New breeds have made their appearance and from them has emerged a new era in sheep, that of the composite breeds.

Cattle breeders found the Shorthorn did not perform well when breaking in country so they were replaced by Herefords and Angus, with striking success on East Coast hill country. Although Angus and Hereford remain the predominant breeds, exotics also have their place on Gisborne East Coast hill country. And many stations have set up bull finishing units where Friesians are run. Calf rearing units are common and, since farmers financed research that identified safe rearing systems, they have become a wonderful money spinner.

Today a hefty chunk of the East Coast has been planted in radiata pine in a bid to control erosion or as commercial propositions. Forestry has claimed much of the infrastructure that was once a healthy aspect of rural life in the area. But farmers are adopting new technology and are utilising their land more intensively and wisely than ever before. And among the region's operators are many of the country's best.

Copyright ©2005, The Gisborne Herald Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved  
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