Tales of Southern Hawke’s Bay’s Mangaorapa Station stretch back to the first half of last century where it began as 800 hectares of marginal, scrub-covered farmland which expanded rapidly to encompass 2577 hectares and become known as one of New Zealand’s finest and most productive agricultural properties.
A spirit of thinking big, working hard and being innovative is what drove two generations of the Mouat family to achieve what many thought was impossible. Where commercially available ploughs couldn’t clear the tough scrub, they built their own. When the woolshed couldn’t cope with the thousands of sheep to be shorn, they designed a revolutionary handling system which later became the industry standard. And when the property became so vast that men on horseback were not able to work efficiently – they built a comprehensive road system making all areas of the station accessible and also formed their own transport business.
To attract and maintain a large team of quality staff, construction of seven staff houses, a new woolshed, a cookhouse, single men’s quarters, an office, a machinery workshop, haybarns, a new homestead, fertilizer storage, and even a school meant the farm could run and grow efficiently.
The Mouat’s saw diversification as being crucial to the farm’s survival as it neared the next century and so along with trialling different sheep breeding programs, feed-storage programs they expanded into cattle finishing systems. Then in 1999, a report was commissioned on the suitability for viticulture of a unique 150ha triangular section of argillite river terrace in the western corner of the property. The report was positive, and in 2000 a trial vineyard of 3ha of pinot noir was established.
In 2005, the pastoral farming operation was sold and Mangaorapa Estate vineyards has now become the families focus.
mangaorapa means ’stream with many tributaries’