The story of Tara Hills high-country research


  • Bruce E Allan Wattie Bush
  • Hazel M Chapman University of Canterbury
  • J M Keoghan



The 3340 ha Tara Hills high-country station near Omarama was a Government owned research facility
between 1948 and 2005. Here we present the story of the rise and fall of Tara Hills; turned from a depleted
wasteland into the vibrant research centre of the 1980s, it was eventually sold to commercial interests in the
early 2000s. By the early 1980s, Tara Hills had 14 permanent staff and was internationally recognised as a
model for dryland farm development, experimentation and demonstration. However, subsequent changes in
emphasis for New Zealand farming resulted in a decline in dryland research and to the inevitable sale of this
high-country station. We summarise the broad range of research and its outcomes associated with Tara Hills,
spanning soils, pasture species, their establishment and production, irrigation, grazing management,
animal breeds, animal production and genetics, and farm systems. The changing face of New Zealand’s
agricultural research and extension is an integral part of this story.


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How to Cite

Allan, B. E., Chapman, H. M., & Keoghan, J. M. (2018). The story of Tara Hills high-country research. Journal of New Zealand Grasslands, 80, 33–38.



Vol 80 (2018)