Griggs cultivate 160 year Show legacy

13 Sep 2023

The Grigg name is synonymous with the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association (CAPA).

In fact, they’ve been involved with the Association’s shop window, The Show, since its inception 160 years ago.

Six generations later and the family is still part of the fabric of the popular town meets country event, which this year runs 15–17 November.

John Grigg (9180), his wife Hilary and son Hamish (13713) run Haldon Pastures, a mixed cropping and sheep farm seven kilometres east of Hororata. His grandfather bought the 550 hectare farm in 1925 with John and Hilary adding an extra two farms in the 1990s to take it to 844 hectares.

The multiple rivers, streams and wetlands running through the property have prompted the couple to diversify so they make the most of the land which can be anything from stones to swamp.

“In the early 2000s, we started irrigating which meant we went from a dryland farm with a little bit of cropping to an extensive arable farm where we grow a lot of seed lines. These include the standard wheat, barley, cloves, rye grass and peas through to hybrid vegetable seeds like carrots, radish, bunching onions, corn salad, Chinese cabbage and red beet,” John says.

They’re also grazing 4000 dairy cows as part of the farm’s diversification.

A former President of the Canterbury Agricultural & Pastoral Association, John is still involved in a supportive capacity, encouraging the next generation.

“We need to make sure the rural and urban communities have a relationship. It’s important that people understand what happens out in the country, and celebrate the agricultural sector and all it brings.”

Hamish is following the family traditions, having worked at The Show as a youngster. Now he’s on several associated A&P bodies, including the General Committee of CAPA, Vice Chair of its Horse Committee, and is on the executive of the Royal Agricultural Society.

Although he always wanted to work on the family farm, Hamish took the more unusual route of studying Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Canterbury.

“I always had a passion for engineering and it’s helped me to understand any potentially unwelcome or unexpected impact of any changes we’re considering on the farm. It’s very easy to come in and either carry on what the previous generation has done or to bring in completely new ideas. But my engineering background has helped me to look at the whole picture.” Hamish says.

Not only is Hamish proud to be a sixth generation Grigg family farmer, but also the fifth generation in School House. The father of forbear J.C.N. Grigg, who was the first of the family to attend Christ’s College, donated our wonderful school clock.

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