Lay of the land

Reporter Shawn McAvinue was at the 37th and final Netherdale Elite Red Deer Sale, in Western Southland, last week and asked some of the nearly 300 people at the auction to describe the contributions to the New Zealand deer industry of stud owner David Stevens.

Deer agent Adam Whaanga, of Mosgiel ... "Massive. His genetic selection for velvet quality has produced more stock for other studs than any other stud breeder for velvet."

Deer farmer Helen Clarke, of Ōtorohanga ... "He has been involved for so long and he has been there and done that and he did a good job as national DFA [New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association] president. He is a guy who is very practical and he is a mover and shaker and is going to be missed because we are running out of deer farmers — they are all getting old."

Deer farmer John Somerville, of Pine Bush ... "It has been huge, particularly on the genetics front, and he was also involved with the political side too."

Deer farmer Graham Peck, of Pleasant Point, Canterbury ... "Absolutely huge. Not only has he been involved in the breeding but he has contributed hugely to the governance."

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Innes Moffat, of Wellington ... "David has been there from the beginning. There has been fewer people who have made a bigger contribution, both with the breeding and the genetics side of things but also being party to the formation of the DFA and as a chairman and a really important mentor for a lot of farmers entering the industry and finding ways to growing better deer and better velvet."

Ben Hudson, of Geraldine ... "It is monumental. He is pretty impressive."

Deer farmer Craig Hocken, of Feilding ... "Huge. He is one of the guys who has lead the industry."

Deer farmer Richard Hilson, of Takapau, Central Hawke’s Bay ... "It is huge. He has done so much at the people level, the governance and dragging the industry along in terms of genetics — it is the complete package. Many people have grown big velvet but really done nothing at DFA  level or industry level and other people have done the politics but haven’t done the farming, but David’s done the whole nine yards."

Deer agent Ben Beadle, of Te Anau ... "He has been a leader and has been putting up good, consistent stock every year and he has been contributing a lot with the genetics. When you look across the pedigrees, Netherdale is there and he has done a lot outside the farm for the industry as well. He has a passion for it."

Deer farmer David Wiering, of West Melton ... "It is massive, he has been a pillar and a trendsetter. What he has achieved has laid the foundation for the new owners of his stud herd and they’ll reap the benefits of his hard work. He is a pretty amazing guy."

Deer farmer Lindsay Tayles, of Riversdale ... "He is generous and helped me out a hell of a lot when I started deer farming."

Deer farmer Garry Ross, of Te Tipua ... "It has been huge.  His genetics are very good, right up there.