The saga of early settlers clearing the land for farming is an essential background to the New Zealand story, Feilding’s Martin Orange writes.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
I know this seems out of place at the start of a dairy column and at the start of a new year but I feel there is a stark contrast to the Anzac story and that of our dairy farming heritage.
What got me thinking about this contrast was when we walked past an elderly man who was selling pins to commemorate Armistice Day.
So many people were walking past him forgetting about the sacrifice that was made to give us the freedom we have today in New Zealand. Where the stark contrast is and what does it have to do with the Dairy Exporter column, I hear you asking.
After many years working in the agricultural training sector I have talked to a lot of people who have got no idea about the hard work that went into breaking our land in.
Many years ago when the earlysetters started arriving here, the land was covered in trees and hardworking farmers like yourselves set to work chopping them down, milling the timber and building communities that we now live in and take for granted.
All those years ago, just as the soldiers left the comfort of their homes for the unknown– so too did a European settler.
On a ship to the land of the long white cloud.
He worked hard to clear bush and plant grass so that he could milk cows and sell the butter and cheese to the local factory that was formed by a group of farmers in his community.
I think that as a country, the farmer has been forgotten and we need to do more to educate the next generation, just like the Anzac story, so that it is not forgotten.
My kids come home from Kindy telling me all about the Anzac poppies they made when they were learning about the soldiers who fought for us. This could very easily turn into me moaning about the government and let’s not event mention the state of vocational training, the loss of, but instead I want to share with you all that all is not lost, we can remember them.
Big shout out to NZ Young Farmers and the Red Meat Profit Partnership who together with other funders have developed a website to support teachers and students to learn more about our landbased industries.
Over the last 12 months I have been involved with telling the paddock-to-plate story and getting kids of all ages out on to farms and learning our story.
I am not the only one, plenty of farmers out there have opened their gates and let schools bring classes on, answer questions and inspiring the next generation of farmers.
Why don’t you consider opening your gate and telling your story?
Go and talk to your kids’ teachers about these great resources and offer up your farm for a visit. I see this as a great way to tell our story, the real story.
Not the political provocative story, not the negative media spin or the PETA story. Our real story. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, still working hard to make New Zealand what it is.
We will remember them!