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Kauri Warmington

Ngāpuhi

Head Shepherd, Mangatoa

All about the dogs

Kaimahi Kauri Warmington has worked on Mangatoa for two years where he is Head Shepherd. 

He came to work at the Pāmu farm in Northland after his uncle, a tractor driver on the property, took him hunting and introduced him to Farm Manager Peter Eagles.

“Originally I was dairy farming, but I didn’t like the early mornings,” he laughs.

“Peter is good at giving young fullas a chance on farm. It was him that took me to pick up my first dog, and him who has given me guidance with the handling.”

There are a lot of old guys keen to pass on their knowledge. He says another mentor is Peter Campbell who often works as a casual on Mangatoa too. 

Kauri says there has been a lot to get to grips with the dog handling and there is still a lot to learn. 

“When I first started and was telling the dog to go left it would go right. It doesn’t always go well. Sometimes you have to take a breather. You’re responsible as the handler. It’s not the dog’s fault if you have trained it properly or given the right command.” 

As well as the whistling there is a whole new language, like ‘balance’ which refers to a dog's ability to place itself exactly where it needs to be to take control of the sheep without frightening them. 

Kauri says the key to success is consistency. 

“You need to train every day. You might not feel like it after work but that’s the best time and five minutes spending time in the training paddock with your dog, that’s what you need to do and in the end the dogs make your job easier."

Kauri says dogs are the best bit of the job. “If it wasn’t for dogs, I don’t think I’d be farming.”

In November Kauri entered two events at the Northland Tux Yarding Challenge but his heading dog came on heat and he had to pull out. However, another opportunity presented itself and he secured a last-minute entry in the maiden Tux Handy Dog Challenge with Huntaway Kite. 

As the one and only entry, they completed the challenge and qualified for the Northland Semi-Final being held at our very own Aratiatia Station near Taupō at the start of December. 

Kauri is of Ngāpuhi descent.