The History + Gallery

Mangaorapa Station, Porangahau, Hawke’s Bay, one of New Zealand’s most respected and well known farming properties, was purchased by the Mouat family of Takapau, Central Hawke’s Bay in 1946 after the sale of their sucessfuly business, W. MOUAT Transport Company.  This farm was undeveloped at the time of purchase and a journey was undertaken to develop this neglected pastureland of less than 2000 acres in to a progressive and successful agricultural enterprise, ultimately encompassed some 7000 acres.  The journey was begun with dedicated planning by Billy Mouat and his two sons Don and Max soon after settlement on the Station.  During the 1950’s, after the death of their father, the brothers dissolved their partnership. Don and Pat Mouat together with sons Bill and Bryan continued the innovative development program over the next 20 years.  

The story of this development which revolutionised many farming practices in New   Zealand, was one of outstanding vision, immense hard work and incredible family and staff loyalties in a rural pioneering environment.  Mangaorapa Station employed 40 staff (mostly residential) at the height of its development and became a real community with a primary school and many self contained facilities on the property.  The enterprise evolved from its early near experimental beginnings into one of the countrys most productive cropping, sheep and cattle breeding operation specialising in quality export meat and wool.  The wealth of this history engendered the high regard in which the property is held today.

From the beginning each of the three generations worked primarily as guardians of the land, driven to find the best practice in all situations, not only for their business and farm community but most importantly, for the future sustainability of their land.  It was this utilisation of best potential that led to the establishment of a trial vineyard of pinot noir vines in 2001 on an area of unique soil type.  With that trial deemed a success, subsequent further plantings of pinot noir along with sauvignon blanc vines were undertaken in 2005, followed by pinot gris vines in 2007.  The first vintages were sold to an established Hawke’s Bay winery and currently, for 90% of the crop, this practice continues.  In 2007, from the finest grapes of the harvest, the first Mangaorapa Estate Wine a ‘True Colours’ Pinot Noir, was produced and this was followed in 2009 by a Sauvignon Blanc.  Released in June 2012 a Mangaorapa Estate Pinot Gris 2011 completes a trio in the premium ‘True Colours‘series.   

For the family, capturing the essence of ‘Mangaorapa’ in a wine is regarded as the pinnacle of 60 years of production from this significant farming property.  At once, it both honours and reflects the quality of the land and the calibre of its people.  The current guardians, Bill and Johanna Mouat, regard this ability to produce premium wines that truly capture their unique ‘sense of place’, to be a privilege.  Their commitment ensures these wines will continue to celebrate the heritage of this land, and the vision of their forebears, for generations to come. 

W.M. (Billy) Mouat W.D. (Don) Mouat W.M. (Bill) Mouat


Matatoa ‘Fathers & Sons’ 

Published in 2011, the book ‘Matatoa Fathers & Sons’ is in the words of the authors, a compilation of ‘Maori and European stories of a small New Zealand community’.   The stories are of (and are written by) families from this bicultural community on the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand.

The following chapter written by Bill Mouat has been made available with the kind permission of the publishers Te Hanganui Partnership and authors, Marina Sciascia and Hilary Pedersen of Porangahau, Hawke’s Bay.

In the book’s Foreward written by Reverend Warner Wilder of Kings College Auckland, the relevance of these stories is underlined by a quote from historian Henry Glassie, ‘History is not the past, but a map of the past drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveller’.

This chapter of Mouat Family history (one of 18 contained in the book) is a map of this family’s journey written in the context of the purpose of these stories, that is: ‘To record and preserve the history of a community and its families of mana’.

Bill Mouat believes to ‘know’ and value history, is to better understand who we are today. And that with observation, it can provide us with guidelines for the future based on the strength of that understanding.

The book ‘Matatoa Fathers & Sons’ is available from the bookshop at ‘Te Papa’, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington, NZ. 

Click here to view the journey to Mangaorapa Station, Porangahau story...

Rae Bros Ltd

Rae Bros Ltd was established in Hastings during the earlier 1950's by brothers Ken and Brian Rae.  It was set up as a specialist fertilizer and lime contracting business, servicing the agricultural and orchard industry inn Hawke's Bay.  The company also provided trucks for the Watties harvest season and bulk metal trucks to the local councils.

In 2001, brothers Bill and Bryan Mouat, who were farming Mangaorapa Station at Porangahau in Central Hawkes bay, brought the Rae Bros contracting company from Ken and Marg Rae, as an off-farm stand alone business with growth potential.

After returning from overseas, Bill Mouat's son Will took over the management of the company with the challenge of growing the business.  He set about modernising the fleet and providing specialist equipment for working in the expanding local vineyard and orchard sector.

Taradale Topdressers Ltd, a company owned by Arthur Yorke, was purchased in 2003 and merged with the Hastings based Rae Bros.

The merged company grew to becoming a highly versatile specialist fertiliser spreading company running ten units.  These included 5 high capacity truck and trailer spreadhing units, two tractor tailer spreaders, a specialist vineyard spreader and 4 bulk trucks.

In 2003 Will Mouat, in conjunction with a Northland based company, Transpread, took on the challenge of designing and building a computer controlled, specialist narrow vineyard spreader.  This unit proved to be very successful in spreading lime and fertiliser in the orchards and vineyards of Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa.

Will continued on with with Transpread to further design and engineer one of New Zealand's first Tri-axle side tipping trailers with a load capacity of 14 tonnes.  This large tailer payload worked will being utilised by the latest Mercedes Benz high powered heavy duty spreader units available at the time.

The company grew by operating a modern vehicle fleet, trebling its initial turnover and establishing a new level of competitive and efficient service to the horticultural and agricultural sectors in the ground-spreading industry in the wider Hawke's Bay region.

When an opportunity occurred in 2007, a decision was made to sell Rae Bros Ltd to the Sandfords Ravensdown agricultural spreading company.

This timely decision allowed Will Mouat to pursue other challenges in the transportation sector including the establishiment of his current Hamilton based business; Wholesale Commercial Vehicles Ltd.  Link:


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