‘Farmers will see that they’re not alone’

Why the benefits of on-farm experiences go both ways 

Mangarara Station, Hawkes Bay


Greg Hart has seen first-hand how open farm days can positively impact urban Kiwis. But what often goes unnoticed is how opening the gate effects farmers.


“Farmers will get to see and feel that big body of support for them out there in the wider public. They see that they’re not alone”.


In a time of widespread farmer mental health challenges, Greg sees connection with others as the way forward for many farmers.


“We all feel these social barriers developing around farming – so on our farm, we try and get ahead of it through educating others about what actually happens on the land. Feeling a real connection with non-farming people and knowing you’ve had a positive impact in their life, is so uplifting and rewarding.”


For the team at Mangarara, the open farm days are a morale and outlook boost.


“We’ve had a lot of families and children come through and they ask lots of questions which helps you see the farm and what you do every day with new eyes. And the energy that the guests bring, particularly children, is good energy which is really uplifting”.


Sheep, dairy cows, chickens, and pigs are just a few of the highlights on display for guests that come to Mangarara Station. “We’ve got a really diverse enterprise” explains Greg Hart, who runs the property with his wife Rachel.


The broad range of animals made their 2020 Open Farms day a special opportunity for guests take part in several interactive experiences “We had lots of fun, the visitors were able to get up close with the animals. We milked the cows and fed the pigs, put a dog around a few sheep. And the young guy we had working for us even shore a couple of sheep”.


Greg Hart on Mangarara Station