On the next episode, screening 6 August 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
June is a big month at Maungahina Stud, an undulating 520-hectare farm just north east of Masterton.
Their core business is breeding bulls and around half their annual income is generated on one day, when their 70 best two-year-old bulls are put up for auction. The sale has been taking place on the property for 72 years, making it one of the longest-running on-farm auctions in Australasia.
The McKenzie family established Maungahina in 1907 and the fourth, fifth and six generations can all be found on the farm today.
Bruce, 73, is semi-retired but still active on the farm. His son Mark, 47, and wife Melissa are in charge of the farm, and their 15-year-old daughter Molly shares the same enthusiasm for bulls as the previous five generations.
When Molly gets home from school she works in the cattle yards with her grandfather and father. Their banter centres on bulls; they talk passionately about their form, constitution and structure, and all have a genuine love for cattle.
When Mark took over Maungahina in 2006 he was determined to make a name for himself. He says he wanted to become known as something more than ‘Bruce McKenzie’s son’.
Bruce is a world-renowned cattle man who has judged many international shows. He also set the New Zealand record price for a single Hereford bull. That bull, San Diego, was imported by Bruce as a calf from the United Kingdom and later sold to an Australian buyer for $80,000, which is still a record.
Bruce, who lives on a separate block a few kilometres from the main farm, now looks after the two-year-old bulls. “I’ve been brought up with cattle all my life and I love to have them all around me,” he says. “I have them all around my house, I look out my window each morning and they’re staring at me. I just love it”.
In 2006 Bruce suggested Mark should head to Canada and look at the Speckle Park breed of cattle. He thought they might adapt well to New Zealand conditions.
Mark liked what he saw and imported his first embryos in 2007. The qualities he most admires about Speckles are their low birth weight coupled with rapid growth, the calves’ survivability, coming from a frozen climate, and their ability to produce marbled beef, with fat mixed in with lean meat, resulting in a top-quality taste.
Now ten years into their Speckle Park venture, his diligence is starting to pay off. There’s rising interest in Maungahina’s Speckle Park herd, which is resulting in top prices.
For more about Speckle Park cattle, visit: http://specklepark.org
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