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The Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust is a registered charitable trust and was set up in 2007 by local industry leaders to fund, develop and run a land-based agricultural training programme.

The training is based at Waipaoa Station (Gisborne) on one of the East Coast’s established hill country properties. With 1760 hectares of effective land sustaining 16,000 stock units, Waipaoa Station is ideally sized to provide an excellent base for agricultural training and a real-life learning environment for young farmers.

Our base for the cadets is our 13-room Lockwood-designed quarters. The adjoining cookhouse, lounge and lecture room once housed many a weary shepherd and is now alive with the vibrancy of 10 young charges eager to learn.


We install the skills, ethics, knowledge and disciplines that a young person needs in order to succeed in today's agriculture industry.

The Waipaoa training model culture is based around core values of self discipline, team work and friendship. Graduates from our programme have a reputation for being well rounded, confident and motivated to achieve at the highest level. "Work Ready" as we see it.

Because our lecture facility and trainee living quarters are based on the station we have the ability to integrate both practical and theoretical components. Our trainees study toward National Certificate qualifications while experiencing the annual farm cycle first hand. Feedback from employers, industry representatives and University lecturers indicate that our trainees display an in-depth knowledge of general farm practice for their age.

Our Nationally recognised training initiatives are leading the way in preparing future agricultural leaders.


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At Waipaoa, we are specialists in sheep and beef. That’s it – we don’t mix our disciplines. We’ve proudly dedicated our station to educating and shaping the people who will shape the future of beef and lamb farming in New Zealand. At Waipaoa, we’re growing the leaders of New Zealand’s red meat production.

We have kept our class sizes at Waipaoa small. We believe this offers a distinct advantage for students to be actively engaged in all areas of life at Waipaoa. It also provides many additional academic and practical farming skill learning opportunities at a truly individual level.

With only five students accepted each year, our size also enables students to interact and quickly develop solid professional relationships and a cooperative spirit that they will take with them into their future careers.

The smaller class sizes also offer greater opportunities for Waipaoa staff to provide additional pastoral care and leadership on a more individual basis – we care about our students and take the responsibility of their care seriously.

We believe our station size balances the practical and academic nature of farming. Our students graduate as skilled work-ready young farmers who have experienced the running of a successful commercial sheep and beef station and know the theoretical rationale behind it.

While we have a keen eye on the future, we never forget our roots. Waipaoa’s farming traditions have been established over many generations and, while the station has moved with the times and champions innovation, there is a distinct respect for the tradition and institution that is New Zealand farming.

In farming terms, we’re only young. But, since we started in 2007, we’ve achieved a lot.

Our training methods are award-winning. We are committed to, and focused on, teaching our students how to apply classroom theories in practical environments. We also focus on key competencies in business management areas so cadets can succeed in the all-important business aspects of farming.

Waipaoa students are constantly challenged to think about the purpose of their training, what they gain from their new skills, and how they can apply those skills to improve operation performance and efficiency. A winning combination in our books.

Our lecture facilities and student accommodation are all based at Waipaoa Station so we can better integrate both the practical and theoretical components of our training. All students study towards National Certificate qualifications as part of their two-year training programme at Waipaoa.

We want our cadets to be well-rounded, confident and educated to the highest level to support a better sheep and beef industry.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a leader in the sheep and beef industry, the cost of your education shouldn’t be a barrier to your success. At Waipaoa, our cadet programme is one of the most affordable in the country and various scholarships with our industry partners are also available to eligible cadets to further support their educational goals.

At Waipaoa, we like to involve industry experts at every opportunity. This means working closely with our academic and industry partners and sponsors to give our students the best education possible from the most knowledgeable sources. Our industry partners help us deliver various programmes within the two year cadetship and proudly support our students throughout their Waipaoa journey.


Being a Waipaoa cadet is an amazing learning experience and a great way to launch a farming career, but there’s still life to live in there too.

The station includes living quarters for Waipaoa cadets, a kitchen, lounge, and lecture room enabling the cadets to live and learn onsite. Due to the size of our facilities, our cadets quickly become a close knit group, with staff acting as “parents”, mentors, and friends to the 10 students living at the station. Working and living together has its challenges, but they are vastly outweighed by the advantages of having a built in support network. Any differences are settled in front of the rugby at the weekend!

Senior and junior cadets are paired to take care of the general hostel duties, including milking the cow, feeding the horses and pigs, managing dog food supplies, cleaning the hostel and general maintenance. We see this as a critical component to their training – every cadet leaves Waipaoa as a useful well-rounded member of a team, well- equipped to handle the day-to-day needs of living on a station.

They say the way to a farmers’ heart is through his or her stomach, so each cadet is also taught to cook and is expected to assist during meal preparations when on hostel duty.

All cadets are mentored on a daily basis, and taught self-management, leadership and teamwork. Senior and junior cadets are teamed up and need to operate as a unit, reinforcing the importance of role modelling and teamwork. These are values that Waipaoa cadets take with them into their farming careers and are part of what makes them such sought after young graduates. Throughout the two-year course, we focus on personal development at an individual level, instilling core values in our cadets. We provide them with confidence in themselves and their skills, which makes them an asset to any commercial farm.

Waipaoa is approximately an hour’s drive from Gisborne, in a rural and somewhat isolated setting. Life on the farm operates at a different pace to that of town, but we like it like that. Waipaoa’s relative isolation and small rural community are a good way to slowly acclimatise our cadets to the realities of rural farm life. Free time can be spent exploring Gisborne itself with its shopping, cafés and restaurants, or the East Coast with its beaches, hunting, and fishing. Not a bad way to spend a weekend! Many of our cadets join the local Ngatapa Rugby and Associated Sports Club – a great way to meet the locals and keep the fitness levels up.


Providing NZ's best pastoral sheep and beef training.



Honesty, professionalism, personal growth, team work, celebration and fun.


Supporting a better sheep and beef industry through high quality training of agribusiness people.

All who visit Waipaoa leave with a sense that they have experienced something special.

Our secret is simple - respect for others, working as a team, striving for excellence, working with other equally motivated young people and participating in a relevant, holistic and practical learning experience.

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