Q&A with Katikati shepherdess using Instagram for rural storytelling

// Staff and Training

Kyaria Warbrick (Ngāi Te Rangi) is an 18-year-old shepherdess sharing her passion for the industry on social media in the hopes of getting others to think about a career in farming.

Kyaria Warbrick

Her Instagram account, @sheepnbeef_forkai, documents her days spent on a 300 hectares sheep and beef farm in Katikati where she manages livestock and sometimes even runs the farm if the owner is busy.

“I show a behind-the-scenes peak into all the things we do as farmers to produce high quality meat and all the things we do to be custodians of the environment such as planting, fencing and more.

“By telling the Pukekauri Farms story, I’m hoping to help educate our urban mates about what it really means to farm in New Zealand,” says Kyaria.

Below, Kyaria tells us more about her love for farming and the reasoning behind sharing her journey through social media.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself

Ko Mauao te maunga 

Ko Tauranga te moana

Ko Mataatua te waka

Ko Ngāi Te Rangi te iwi

Ko Opureora te marae 

Ko Te Moutere o Matakana te whakaruruhau

Ko Kyaria Ohana Manawa tooku ingoa

I’m Kyaria Warbrick. I am 18, born in Australia and raised on a farm on Matakana Island. Ever since I was little, I’ve always had a love for animals and dreamed about becoming a vet. I remember my Nan telling me that she would take me to the family milking shed, and I would play in the calf pen for hours. During that time my Koro (grandad) had his own heard of drystock cattle and as the eldest of their grandchildren, I would go out and help him as well. Somewhere in between I grew a love for farming and when I was 7 I got a job at the family milking shed and milked the cows every day after school. My main responsibility was to feed our calves and make sure their pen was clean, and at the end of the week I got $20 to spend. Win win. 

Q: How did you get into farming and into your role?

In my last years of college, I enrolled in an Agriculture STP course with Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. In my first year in 2020, our tutor was a fencing contractor, so we did A LOT of fencing that year and in the middle of summer! 

In 2021, our course moved to Rotorua where our tutor pushed us to get our names and job interests out to the farmers we met. At this time, I took a liking to sheep and beef farming as it challenged my abilities. 

Towards the end of last year my Nan heard that a young lady was moving to a bigger station and her boss (Rick Burke) was looking for another worker. My Nan got in touch with Rick and sent me the details, I then applied and met up with Rick. I got the job! Rick didn’t hesitate to put me to work as my first day on farm was the beginning of docking season. Here I am still six months later and loving it!

Q: What do you love most about what you do?

To be honest I love everything about what I do! But the best thing is getting out in the hills and seeing all the amazing views, definitely worth the big hike.

Q: What’s the purpose behind your Instagram account?

Farming isn’t just about moving around animals. As a farmer you have to know how to take care of the land you are farming on, that means having a plan in place to reduce sediment loss in the rivers/streams and having another plan in place to reduce pests numbers and increase the biodiversity around the farm. With knowing this I put together a farming page on instagram (@sheepnbeef_forkai) where I post and make aware of all behind scenes of our meat produce, planting up CSA’s, gorse spraying, fencing etc. So, if you would like to see hop on over to our page and come along with the Pukekauri crew.

Q: What advice would you give to others wanting to join the industry?

I would simply say go for it! You never know where things can lead to and it never hurts to give it a go. But be ready because farming/shepherding isn’t always fun and easy, some days will be easy going and other days will test your limits. Ricks is always telling me “Farming is like a game of chess, always plan out your moves” and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Q: What’s next for you? 

The next step for me is definitely to get on a bigger station and really be involved more with the farming/shepherd community and hopefully, at some point I want to get into dog training.

Q: Anything else you want to mention? 

I would also like to say a big thank you to my agriculture tutors Boyd Harris and Tania Phillips who have helped me to gain and improve in all aspects of farming during the last two years. Also, I would like to say a massive thank you to Rick Burke and Jan Loney for taking me in to be a part of the Pukekauri crew.