Farm open day part of NZ-wide initiative

Farm owners Tony and Raewyn van Gool at a riparian planting at their Mokotua farm in Southland...
Farm owners Tony and Raewyn van Gool at a riparian planting at their Mokotua farm in Southland last year. Photo: Supplied
The owners of a Southland farm will showcase a range of environmental initiatives they employ when they open their gates to the public tomorrow.

Raewyn and Tony van Gool boast a "long history of conservation work" on their Mokotua farm, east of Invercargill, and  will show off their environmental efforts as participants in Fonterra’s Open Gates initiative.

Under the initiative, a farm was chosen from each region of the country to open its gates on the day,  the van Gools being chosen to represent Southland. The couple’s farm is in the Waituna Catchment, a lagoon being monitored under the Department of Conservation’s  Living Water Programme to improve water quality in the area.

"We have worked closely with conservation groups for the whole time we’ve owned the farm and have been riparian planting long before it became a thing to do," Mrs van Gool said.

She said they would display a report from their greenhouse gas project and their  nutrient report.

"More importantly, the day is about family fun, and sort of bridging the urban-rural gap."

The couple would host milking demonstrations, hay rides, a gumboot-throwing competition and even a "cowpat bingo" fundraiser throughout the day, she said.

"It’s really quite country ... It just gives people a chance to step on the farm for a day," she said.

- Sharon Reece

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