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Case study - Nukuhou farmers making a difference: Margaret and Michael Kirk

Nukuhou farmers caregivers of the land

Farmers like Margaret and Michael Kirk of Fairview Farm in Nukuhou believe they have a 'duty of care' which goes beyond their rights as landowners and extends to being caregivers of the land.

"We aim to leave the land better than when we came to it," said Mrs Kirk. Mr Kirk says: "We're collectively responsible - those who are farming upstream have a responsibility to care for the stream to enable those downstream to carry out their activities."

The Kirks came from the Hawkes Bay to Fairview Farm in 1989, and soon after, ring fenced 28 hectares of native bush to remove stock from the steeper regions of the farm and increase slope stability.

After the fencing, the farmers used 1080 to control possums and within a year, the trees were flourishing and birdlife had flooded back. The bush is now home to shining cuckoos, kaka, grey warblers and flocks of kereru, tui and bellbirds.

With financial assistance and advice from the Regional Council, the Kirks have also fenced the length of the small Horowera Stream that runs through their property. They have planted the streamsides in native vegetation and built a new bridge to keep stock and vehicles out of the stream.

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Margaret and Michael Kirk believe that they have a 'duty of care' to look after their land.