Filipino farmers join together
On the outskirts of the South Waikato, Harvey Cabug works on a farm of 600 cows and doubles as the president of the North Island Filipino Farmers Association.
The newly-developed group was established last year and has drawn in hundreds of farmers.
Forty-year-old Cabug, who is working at a Waotu farm in his second season, said he helped found the group to help others like himself.
In 2008, he left his job in Saudi Arabia where he helped managed 5000 cows.
He noticed it was completely different to New Zealand farming.
In Saudi Arabia, he was only assigned to one job and the stock were kept in sheds.
It all came down to a can of milk made in New Zealand which sparked his desire to immigrate.
‘‘This is my dream . . . I saw that and I always admired it.’’
But the decision to move did not come without hurdles, he said.
‘‘It’s a big challenge for us . . . You cannot expect what will happen every day.’’
And that is where the association came in to help.
Members are able to call one another when problems arise.
He said their number one goal is to improve as employees to keep everything running smoothly.
‘‘ Our mission as Filipino farmers is helping farmers.’’
The group meet once a month where they bond socially and through their trade.
They also help each other with the preparation of each new season. ‘‘This is our second home, we need to work hard.’’
Federated Farmers provincial president Chris Lewis spoke at a dinner held in December.
Lewis addressed the room of about 200 people with a short speech.
As an experienced farmer, he provided insight on employment agreements and job descriptions.
‘‘ I asked them what they wanted to hear . . . when you come to a country, you are unaware of the rules.’’
He believed the group provided support, similar to the young farmers association.
‘‘I guess it makes them feel like they’re at home.’’
Lewis said there are thousands of Filipino farmers in the country and Cabug expected numbers to grow.
Farming development: Harvey Cabug has helped bring Filipino farmers together in the newly established North Island Filipino Farmers Association.