Farm­ers’ din­ner one of a kind

South Waikato News - - SPORT - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Farm­ers com­ing into the Toko­roa catch­ment area will be wel­comed with a ‘‘ unique’’ din­ner held next month.

The an­nual event or­gan­ised by the Toko­roa Fed­er­ated Farms branch will host up to 200 peo­ple at the South­ern United Rugby Clu­b­rooms on July 8.

Chair of the branch Mary-Ann Mathis said the din­ner was unique in the farm­ing com­mu­nity.

‘‘ Most peo­ple that come say they’ve never been to some­thing like this.’’

It’s been a tra­di­tion to have a ‘‘ welcome- in so­cial’’ since the 1950s.

‘‘I think it started as a cup of tea in the lo­cal town hall.’’

Mathis said events are held across the coun­try usu­ally at the lo­cal town, but most weren’t as big as this.

In the last few years, a cul­tural group from one of the high schools had put on a per­for­mance.

How­ever this year Toko­roa busi­ness owner and Su­per­sports or­gan­iser Larry Sul­li­van will be a guest speaker with the fo­cus be­ing on sports in the dis­trict.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple get in­volved in sport in the South Waikato.’’

It’s part of the dis­trict’s iden­tity, she said, and one of the rea­sons why Toko­roa is so ‘‘spe­cial’’.

To put on such an event also helps farm­ers ease into the com­mu­nity ac­cord­ing to Mathis.

‘‘ I don’t think peo­ple re­alise when you shift on June 1, it’s not just shift­ing house.

‘‘You move your whole busi­ness and lives.

‘‘That’s why I think its im­por­tant for peo­ple to just talk.’’

It’s a way to get to know their fel­low farm­ers who have moved into the dis­trict like them or those who have made Toko­roa their home.

For Toko­roa farmer Paul Nel­son, the move 12 months ago from Cam­bridge was a big job.

The 50/50 sharemilker packed up his fam­ily of four, now five, and his busi­ness for a three year con­tract man­ag­ing 700 cows.

The only move he had done be­fore­hand was from the United King­dom, but it cer­tainly wasn’t the same.

‘‘It’s dif­fer­ent mov­ing a house than a back­pack.’’

He de­scribed it as re­ally hard work’’.

Lucky for him and his wife

‘‘crazy and Louise, his friends, fam­ily, pre­vi­ous sharemilk­ers and the farm owner made it eas­ier.

The most dif­fi­cult part was trans­port­ing the stock.

‘‘We came from a smaller farm so we brought a few cows from all over the place.’’

If he could give any ad­vice to those who will move for the first time, it’s to plan and call in as many favours as you can.

Nel­son at­tended the din­ner last year and said it was a new ex­pe­ri­ence with an op­por­tu­nity to meet a lot of the ser­vice providers.

Since his move he’s set­tled into the Toko­roa com­mu­nity, and hoped to stay on for at least six years.

Pack­ing up a busi­ness and a fam­ily is no easy job, as Toko­roa farmer Paul Nel­son can tell you.

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