15 February 2019
Gordon Levet has outstanding experience in his own right as a leading New Zealand stud ram breeder. Highly regarded in his mission to improve the genetics of sheep, his work is helping to improve animals’ immune systems, so they can overcome parasites and diseases. True to his trailblazer nature, Gordon was also the first in New Zealand to breed for worm resistance.
The bona fide innovator has worked extraordinarily hard over the last ten years on his stock genetics. Buyers come from all over Aotearoa to his annual ram sale which is regarded as the best auction in New Zealand.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Gordon’s farm, Kikitangeo Romney Stud, is a complex environment for the team to navigate as well as the stock - this pressure is factored into the breeding programme. Stock on the farm primarily include Romney, and some Suffolk and Southdown sheep, along with cattle of mixed Hereford and Angus breed.
A significant feature of the beautiful farm is the stock water dam, located at the top of the property, which sees gravity-controlled water delivered to troughs on-site. The judges complimented the aesthetically-pleasing appearance of the dam which sits against a lush backdrop of native bush.
True to his diverse skillset, Gordon has also been involved in farm forestry his whole life and the judges were captivated by what they saw of this on the farm. They credited the extent, quality, and species’ diversity as a compelling showcase for how farm forestry can be incorporated into a farm system.
Gordon’s most valuable blessing, however, isn’t his credentials - as impressive as they are. It’s the company he keeps - his family. With the backing and support of wife, Trish, and their wider family, the legacy created at Kikitangeo Romney Stud will endure through future generations. The family’s special bond was a stand-out dynamic for the judges.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Gordon is 85 and still at the helm of his successful business. To ensure the farm continues to prosper, a succession plan is in place.
Of his decision to enter this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards Gordon says, “I’ve spent a lifetime planting trees and trying to prevent erosion using ideas that are unique from what other people are doing. I’ve never chased awards, but I was motivated to enter because I continue to reflect on what we have accomplished and how others could learn from this.”
Massey University Innovation Award