Trading London life for the family farm

Trading London life for the family farm Anna Wildman

4 November 2021

After a successful corporate career in London, Anna Wildman (Harington 1994) returned home to the King Country family farm and in 2016 took over managing the property.

The 700-hectare property is located 15km west of Te Kuiti, on land which Anna, 44, describes as “absolutely beautiful.”

She runs the dairy grazing farm, running 1100 cattle in winter as well as red deer and beef.

“We are predominantly dairy grazing. Our dairy farming clients send us their calves which we rear through to 2-year-olds.”

Returning home to New Zealand in 2012, via Central America for six months, Anna went home briefly and planned to shift to Auckland to look for a job.

“It was meant to be a couple of months and I kind of just stayed here and got more and more involved in the operation. Eventually deciding that I wanted to have the opportunity to manage the business.”

As a school leaver, Anna studied a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Otago, specialising in finance and IT, and notably “nothing to do with farming.”

She had a short stint working in Auckland then in 2001 moved to London – a city she loved for its variety and pace of life. Anna worked in local government, working for Lambeth Council in Brixton in a business development and IT systems role with a large staff.

Having had nothing to do with farming for 20-years – and leaving home as a young teen to attend boarding school in Hamilton – it was a case of learning on the job.

“We have an absolutely stunning property and after so many years being inside, I just love not being in an office and getting to spend my days outside.”

She loves working with animals and the green and lush surrounds at the farm which has been in the family more than 70-years.

“It was quite a change for me coming back to the farm, learning everything I can and seeing the changes and improvements we are making on the property, that is the joy.”

Her father, who lives on the property, also helps out on the farm when he is there.

Anna’s background means she is a keen adopter of onfarm technology, including using the water monitoring application developed by her brother Richard Wildman (Williams 1997-2001) through his company, Knode. Knode helps businesses monitor their key assets with real-time data and insights, enabling business owners to make smarter, more impactful decisions.

Another Collegian, her neighbour Trinny Groube (Harington 2019-2020) has been working on the farm part time, when she is not working on her family’s own block.