Gamble led to renown in biodynamic agriculture
Agricultural identity Peter Proc- tor passed away at his home in Havelock North on Friday, aged 89.
The internationally known and published icon was a wellknown biodynamic agriculture authority and accomplished a lot in his life.
Peter had a secure job as farm manager at Hohepa Farm, Clive, when he decided to take up an uncertain role as field adviser for the Bio Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association.
That was in the mid-1980s, and for years he was probably the only full-time adviser to organic farmers in New Zealand.
Peter sometimes would say, after visiting a well-established organic or biodynamic farm, that “they know what they are doing, and don’t really need me”. But when he telephoned to say that he was coming to the district and asked if they wanted a visit from him, the answer was usually “yes”.
In those days organic or biodynamic farming was a par- ticularly lonely task and often attracted derogatory comments from neighbours, so taking it up required courage. This was where he excelled — he had a very sunny personality and was a wonderful source of encouragement and enthusiasm, especially for those isolated most of the time from others of a like mind. He was on the road, many weeks at a time, travelling from Northland to Southland, and visiting up to 100 farms a year, all of whom paid for his time and travel and very often for many return trips. On occa- sions he made visits to farmers in Australia also.
His unique qualities meant that when he retired from the NZ advisory work in the midnineties, there was no one who could replace him. But retirement didn’t mean that he stopped, and from then on he made many visits to India with partner Rachel Pomeroy, where they helped farmers to use new methods and to rediscover some of the older ones previously known. The film One Man, One Cow, One Planet documents some of that work, and he spoke about it with Kim Hill on Radio NZ in September 2009.
Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane. ■ Peter Proctor’s funeral will be held in the Hohepa Hall, 363 Main Rd, State Highway 2, Clive, at 1pm tomorrow. This will be followed by burial in the Wharerangi Cemetery next to Hohepa School in Fryer Rd, Napier, at 3pm. Afterwards all are welcome to gather for refreshment, to share memories and to celebrate Peter’s life. — Andy Black