A cadetship at Waipaoa Station is two years long, with each year having a distinct study programme.

Starting in the second week of January and running through to the third week in December, our academic year is synchronised with the annual farm cycle. Each week, a senior and junior cadet are rostered on to carry out hostel duties while the other cadets are split up with staff members to carry out daily work tasks on Waipaoa. First year cadets carry out general work on the farm while the second year's focus is on stock work. Major operations like docking and shearing are carried out by all on the station.

Cadetship year 1

Course is New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture, provided by EIT

Level 2 Primary Industries - Skills

Level 3 Vehicles, Machinery & Infrastructure

Level 3 Farming Systems

During the first year of training as a Waipaoa cadet, students will focus on academic and general farm work, while assisting with general hostel duties.

Cadets are teamed up with a second year cadet (senior) for hostel duties and mentoring for the whole year. Duties include milking the cow, feeding horses and pigs, daily cleaning of the hostel, general maintenance and managing dog tucker supplies. Cadets are also taught by the cooking tutor how to prepare meals when on hostel duty and, if required, how to ride a horse which they will use for transport and stock work. 

The highlight of the year, for many - all cadets get a heading pup in March, and will be taught how to rear and break in a working dog.

The practical and theoretical focus for first year cadets includes:

  • Basic principles of slaughtering, carpentry, fencing, water systems, stock sense, general maintenance, woolshed operations, animal welfare and tractor operations.

  • Technical farming including soil analysis, fertilizers, budgeting, meat and wool production, and pasture management.

  • Academic principles of farm management, including record keeping and analysis, and personnel management.

  • Practical farming including horse riding for transport and stock work, horse care and welfare, rearing and training a working dog.

First year cadets also take part in a comprehensive first aid course, a one week Health and Safety induction course and  a shearing course. 

Cadetship year 2

Course is New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture, provided by EIT

Level 4 Breeding Systems

In the second year of training as a Waipaoa cadet, students focus on stock work and improving their business competencies, while assisting with general hostel duties. There is also a strong emphasis on mentoring, and senior cadets are paired with junior cadets to provide support and promote a sense of community.

Cadets return with their fully broken-in, work-fit huntaway and are taught how to break in the heading pup they have reared. 

The practical and theoretical focus for second year cadets includes:

  • Academic principles of farm management, including record keeping and analysis, and budgeting.

  • Practical farming including increased responsibility for mustering and animal health operation, rearing and training a huntaway, and working with the existing heading dog they have reared.

  • Breaking in a horse – Most mustering done on horse.

  • Technical farming including pasture harvesting, stock management, genetic improvement, pro-active climatic situation management, and reinforcing and expanding on skills and knowledge gained in the first year, with educational visits to a fertiliser plant, woolstore, freezing works and farm field days.

Short courses & Specialist tuition

Throughout the study year, industry experts visit Waipaoa and deliver lectures and short-courses that further back up tuition given by on-site tutors. This practice allows the information flow to our cadets to remain in tune with new industry developments. Both senior and junior cadets attend these sessions and are encouraged to work together on post lecture exercises.

Specialist courses include:

  • Animal anatomy - ruminant anatomy, internal parasite identification.

  • Animal health and husbandry - animal health planning and policies, animal welfare.

  • Electric fence systems - the system of electric fencing and on-farm application.

  • Fertilisers - soil testing, nutrient budgeting, program development, environmental awareness, types and their purpose.

  • Meat production - strategic management practices for improved protein production, sales and marketing, grading and processing systems.

  • Pasture and crop management - renewal programs, feed budgeting, pasture, weed and crop identification, factors influencing pasture production.

  • Reproduction and genetics - strategic use of genetics for improved productivity, breeding programs, policy development.

  • Rural safety - chainsaw, SPV/ATV, tractor, motorcycle operation and safety. 

  • Soil science - soil identification, factors effecting fertility, influence of farming practices on soil formation and structure, soil biology, climatic and geographical influence on soil types, environmental awareness.

  • Water systems - source and storage options, systems development and installation, component identification and use, calculating stock water requirements. 

  • Wool production - factors influencing wool production, wool "from the farm to the consumer", woolshed operations, identification of wool types and faults, breeding for improved wool production.