History is really important to us at Hard Hill Country Genetics. We are blessed to continue the legacy of some great servants of the industry who were pioneers in breeding. Our responsibility is to build and improve on the foundation they have laid as we pursue breeding tougher and more productive hard hill country genetics that perform under pressure.

Ashgrove Rams

Ashgrove Coopworths was established in the 1960's by David Hartles of Maungatoroto.  James and Janine Parsons were long time ram clients of David's, and using his sheep genetics transformed their ewe flock performance. They rated the genetics so highly they purchased the Ashgrove Coopworth stud in 2013 from David when he retired. Then shifted the stud to their new Tangowahine farm they purchased in 2014 with Chris and Hayley Parsons. The new farm they called Ashgrove.

David Hartles front right at the first Ashgrove Coopworth Auction at the new location in 2014

David was one of the early pioneers of facial eczema breeding in sheep. The work and sacrifices these early sheep breeders made have laid the foundation for outstanding eczema resistance we enjoy today. In 2018 the River Run Suftex stud was purchased off Peter Cook near Kerikeri and shifted to Ashgrove, now known as Ashgrove Suftex. This was a leading terminal sire stud in Northland fully recorded on SIL, which continues to lead the region in supplying terminal sire rams.

Since 2014 the team have added additional breeding objectives to the Ashgrove Coopworth flock. These include ewe longevity, worm resistance, and flystrike resistance. The steep hard hill country is a fantastic place to test these sheep and achieve performance under pressure.

David Hartles founder of Ashgrove Coopworths with James shearing the ewes in 2013

Matauri Angus

Three generations of the Maxwell Family have been involved in the breeding that forms the background of Matauri Angus, with the fourth generation being the Pymm and Parsons families building on the solid foundation laid by the Maxwell’s, with a fifth generation starting to get involved.

Colin Maxwell

The purebred Angus operation started with the first registered calves being born on Peter Maxwell’s property at Mangamuka Bridge in the Hokianga in 1958. This herd was run under the Ballochmyle prefix and was farmed on fairly challenging hill country. Peter’s son Bruce Maxwell followed on and established the Matauri prefix with registered calves born from 1964. One of the first bulls Bruce Maxwell purchased was a Te Karaka bull from Tangowahine, Dargaville, of Puketutu bloodlines. This was an outstanding bull that had a big influence on the Matauri herd. Colin Maxwell, Bruce’s son remembers accompanying his father to the auction at Te Karaka Angus as a 9 year old and being really excited about the purchase.

Black Banner of Matauri, born in 1966, became the first widely used Matauri sire. Matauri gained Australasian recognition when a son of Black Banner was exported to Koojan Hills Stud in Western Australia; this was the first of a number of Matauri bulls to be exported. Colin Maxwell was the next generation to lead Matauri Angus and drove some ground breaking initiatives in NZ cattle breeding.  Without question the most influential sire in NZ was Matauri Reality 839 born in 2008. No other NZ bull has had the influence of Reality 839 throughout NZ beef herds.

Since the early days, Matauri Angus has continually evolved and embraced pioneering practices. They were only the second Angus stud within New Zealand to adopt the method of calving heifers as two year olds. They were also one of the first herds to use Beefplan, the first available weight recording system within New Zealand.

In 2020 after three generations in the Maxwell family, Matauri Angus changed hands from Colin Maxwell at Matauri Bay Rd, to the Pymm and Parsons families in Tangowahine, Dargaville. In a twist of fate, the herd is now on the same property that was home to Te Karaka Angus which bred that outstanding foundation sire of the Matauri Angus herd back in the 60’s. The Parsons and Pymm families are continuing in the tradition of Matauri Angus, breeding leading maternal cows that perform on hard hill country for discerning clients.

Matauri also became the first stud in New Zealand to recognise the importance of Scrotal Data and to use it as an integral part of the selection process.

Matauri Angus will continue to seek out and implement new and improved methods to ensure that the very best bulls possible will be available to its clients, both commercial breeders and stud breeders.

Matauri Angus Bull sale in the 1970's