Chris Eruera (Ngāi Tahu) wants to be the first tribal member to manage one of the new Ngāi Tahu dairy farms.
“Our rangatira fought long and hard to re-establish our tribal economic base. They carved a pathway and I’m extremely proud to be here now.”

Chris is second-in-charge of a Ngāi Tahu farm, established at Eyrewell on the northern banks of the Waimakariri River. Three of the planned 14 dairy farms for the complex are in operation, with another three farms due to come into production in time for next season. Among the dairy farms will be 150 hectares of native planting – that’s the size of 300 rugby fields set aside for native biodiversity. Potentially there will be 100 jobs created to support the development.

Chris says there are heaps of opportunities for whānau keen to head down the farming track and he encourages those interested to enrol in Whenua Kura, the tribe’s support scheme aimed at growing Māori leadership in agriculture.
“It’s brilliant the way they’ve set it up. They’ll fully fund all your tutoring and support you with your training during work hours.”

Having worked 10 years in the dairy industry, Chris has learned most of his skills on the job. He had been following the progress of Ngāi Tahu Farming, and decided that was where he wanted to be.

Chris has been working for Ngāi Tahu Farming 18 months now and while he continues his studies, he has worked his way up to the position of deputy farm manager. He has had the opportunity to be in charge of farm operations on several occasions, stepping in for his manager, Phil Columbus, who recently won Farm Manager of the Year at the regional Dairy Industry Awards.

Chris is proud to be working on the whānau-owned farm and looks forward to having more Ngāi Tahu join the team.
“Putting in the work and commitment is definitely paying off, not just for the future of my own whānau but also the whole of Ngāi Tahu. Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us.”

Open to all Māori, the Whenua Kura programme includes full-fee scholarships (18-34 years) toward Lincoln University qualifications specialising in land-based studies, work placements on Ngāi Tahu farms, a Māori approach to learning, as well as guidance and support through to employment. Visit for more information.

Chris Eruera – proud to be working on a whānau-owned farm.

Chris Eruera – proud to be working on a whānau-owned farm.