The goat man of Tauhei

Tauhei goat farmer Kerry Averill may not be able to recognise each of his goats by sight, but every one of them – all 1700 – have names.

These are written on tags around their necks, and each goat comes packed with a tonne of personality.

“They’re very intelligent, these guys – when you bring them in at night there are some that run around as soon as you open the door, attach themselves to you and follow you all the way up to the shed,” says Kerry.

The goats are happy to see him. The minute he gets to their pen, they’re up on hind legs, nibbling his fingers and soon, he’s swamped in a sea of goat.

“Goats are easier than cows in some respects,” says the former dairy farmer. “They’re a lot cleaner for a start, and just the size of them is a lot different. The biggest we’ve got here is no more than 100kg whereas a cow could weight 300kg or more. That’s a big advantage.”

Kerry has been living in Tauhei for 22 years and has become a key player in his area: he’s a member of the social committee, the hall committee, and he also runs the badminton club. On top of that, he was involved in the Scouting movement for 35 years, during which time he became the National Scout Commissioner for New Zealand.

“I’m taking a break from that right now, but I really enjoy watching the kids get good stuff out of it. I’ll take kids on jamboree and they’ll start out meek and mild and by the end of it you’ve got someone who’s independent and has the skills to get underway on their own.”

As part of his role on the social committee, Kerry writes and produces a seasonal newsletter called the Tauhei Times.

“It goes to 170 families in Tauhei. Anything like news from the clubs, discussion groups, what’s happening, and what to look out for, what’s up, what’s down. We also put in a section on births, deaths and marriages, and a regular part called ‘Did You Know?’ which is funny stories about people doing silly things. It’s just a district information thing, really, and people love seeing it.”

Farming is not generally a business one associates with a jet-setting lifestyle, but Kerry has been to Switzerland, Holland, Israel and Britain – to name a few – to check out different goat farming structures and the latest equipment.

“It’s very interesting to see the different concepts, the ways they’re done. You come back with a lot of ideas. You’ve got to go out and see things, it’s no good reading about them, you’ve got to experience it yourself.”

And a lot of international visitors – and school groups – come to experience goat farming at Kerry’s operation. There’s a visitor’s book for people to sign, and he’s even started landscaping around his sheds.

“Everyone comments on how good it looks when they turn up. The idea is to make it more of a pleasant place to visit and work.”

And the goats probably agree.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

5 thoughts on “The goat man of Tauhei

  • August 29, 2011 at 9:23 am
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    Great story and great pics, thanks, Judy

    Reply
  • August 29, 2011 at 10:01 am
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    Another excellent issue!

    Reply
  • September 1, 2011 at 9:30 am
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    Thanks Kerry the goats look so sweet.. just as I remember..
    Good to read Scouts still in your blood! Jak

    Reply
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  • April 5, 2015 at 7:38 pm
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    Kerry. Great to see you still kicking or should that be jumping to be more aligned with the kids.

    Reply

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