Q&A with Northland farm intern Miya Wendt-Smith

// Staff and Training

Miya Wendt-Smith is in her first year of Whangārei A&P Society’s Farm Intern Programme, and is enjoying living and working on a Sheep and beef farm at Whangārei Heads.

miya on horeseback

At only 15 years of age, Miya combines her love of the outdoors and passion for horses into her daily work life on the farm in Whangārei.

Miya’s favourite animal on farm is her new puppy Tonker, who she tells us is in training to become the world’s best farm dog.

As part of its People and Training workstream, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) supports the Farm Intern programme amongst other similar initiatives.

Here’s what Miya had to say about participating in the Whangārei A&P Society’s Farm Intern Programme. 

What made you think about doing Whangārei A&P Society’s Farm Intern Programme? 

I grew up at the Whangārei Heads on a lifestyle block and always loved the outdoors. I’ve worked with horses for most of my life, including at a show jumping stables when I was 14. I tried a retail job in town, but I knew I needed to work outdoors, I went stir crazy! 

One of the Whangārei A&P Committee members who lives in the area told me about the programme. I thought this would be a perfect way of incorporating my love for the outdoors and work with horses. It’s been great so far. We use the horses for weekly mustering and checking stock. I love being out on the hills and my bosses bought an extra horse, Tom, just for me to use.

What is the biggest change from your previous learning experiences?

Having to keep myself on time, there’s no-one else guiding you and keeping you on track. You have to keep focused and concentrate when there’s a lot going on around you. I’ve learnt to be thorough and go back and check everything I’m doing until I’m confident. Obviously, the other main difference is that you’re mostly outdoors instead of being in a classroom. I’m loving learning on the job.

What part does your farmer play? 

I have the best bosses ever. They take the time to teach and support me, I feel like I landed on the perfect farm. I’m 35 minutes from town and am living on my own so I’m enjoying learning to run a household and take care of myself. My bosses definitely keep an eye out for me too; getting meat packages dropped off every now and then has been a big bonus! 

What is your favourite thing on your current farm?

I love that it’s very diverse, we do everything on farm ourselves. Fencing, cropping, tractor work, stock management, everything! I also love living where I work, its easy as I’m too young to get my licence. 

What advice would you give to school leavers? 

Always be reliable, hardworking and on time. And get a really good CV, just jump at any opportunity as any experience you can get could land you your dream job! I’d highly recommend the course to anybody; you don’t have to have a background in farming. I’ve met so many people and had so many cool opportunities!

How have you found attending class on a Monday and the support from your tutors? 

Class has been good, we’ve been learning practical stuff and it’s different to what you’re learning on farm - it’s very structured. The tutors are very supportive, always there to help and we’re always their main priority. The other interns have become my friends too, in-andoutside of class. It’s cool to be going through it together. 

What’s the long-term dream? 

I think my dream is the same as most of the others on the course. Firstly, to complete my level 3 and then level 4 NZ Certificates in Agriculture. Then eventually to be confident in managing and running my own farm. I’d love to get some work experience on a big station down South, getting experiences on other farms, learning from different people and then coming back home.

Learn more about the Whangārei A&P Farm Intern programme

The programme takes a flexible approach. Some interns are living and working on farm, while others are commuting.