Shining light, knowledge into farms

Farm4Life creator Tangaroa Walker has been travelling around New Zealand promoting his book....
Farm4Life creator Tangaroa Walker has been travelling around New Zealand promoting his book. PHOTO: NATASHA PARRANT
By the time Tangaroa Walker was 6, he had lived in 16 houses and attended six schools.

Adopted into several families, he had never read a book in his life and lived to play rugby. Now he is a community and industry leader, running a 500-cow dairy farm in Southland and reaching millions as the face of Farm4Life.

“My background taught me how to pivot, I could go from gang environment, alcohol, drugs and abuse”, he said.

It was when he moved to live rurally with his aunt and uncle on what he said was a beautiful farm near Tauranga that they showed him "really good morals and values".

Mr Walker, who stopped in Timaru earlier this month during a book tour, started Farm4Life "to try and build a community of people who trusted me and trusted the brand" and " to try and cheer people up and give a bit of light to the farming industry”.

He later launched Farm4Life Hub, an online video learning platform which delivered rural education to people wanting to learn more about farming.

The Hub produced more than 2000 videos which told people the “how” and “why” of dairy farming to form good decision-making and improve people’s achievements within the farming industry.

People who subscribed would be educated by leading experts in the dairy industry while Mr Walker described himself as the middle man in the process.

"I’m sort of dumbing it down so [even] a kid can understand this sort of stuff".

Mr Walker took most of his videos himself and they had been watched "millions" of times.

Mr Walker, who took most of the videos himself, was interested in technology because he said it allowed people to deliver information at a large scale. Otherwise, delivering education one-on-one could sometimes be a tedious long process, whereas technology could be faster, more fun and interactive.

Mr Walker’s book

Farm for Life: Mahi, Mana and Life on the Land was recently launched and he visited 33 places in New Zealand on a book tour.

It took him eight weeks to write the book with the help of a ghost-writer.He had never written a book before and did not know the process but he liked doing things he had not done before.

Being a busy man made it hard for him to have any downtime.

He said his relationship with Farm4Life made it hard for him to see it as work anymore.

“I’m always filming and so it becomes normal. It’s just like cooking and eating a meal. I enjoy it”.

When he had more downtime he liked to go free-diving and work out at his functional fitness gym in Southland. He also enjoyed spending time with his wife and son.

Future goals Mr Walker strived for were to “make a difference to people’s lives.”

To do so, he wanted to continue educating others on how to improve their farming and try to give children a vision in the rural community.

- By Natasha Parrant

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