3 October 2022
As Mount Albert Grammar School’s (MAGS) 100th birthday celebrations come to a close, ASB is helping secure the future of a unique inner city learning opportunity by gifting farmland valued at around $150 million to support ongoing farming education at the school in perpetuity.
The 8.1ha section of land adjacent to the school was purchased by ASB in 1933 and is known as ASB MAGS Farm. It has a long history of introducing students to different facets of food and fibre production, helping inspire the next generation of farmers.
ASB chief executive officer Vittoria Shortt says, “We’re delighted to be gifting ownership of ASB MAGS Farm to MAGS Foundation, ensuring that students will continue to benefit from this special learning environment for generations to come.
“Food and fibre production is the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, and the farm plays a really important role in attracting young urban talent into these industries.
“We know our young people care deeply about sustainability and this next generation will be critical players as the industry innovates and adapts to meet the challenges and opportunities of climate change and evolving consumer preferences.”
ASB MAGS Farm incorporates a range of livestock, greenhouses, a native plant nursery and a gold kiwifruit orchard. Around 250 Mount Albert Grammar students elect to take agri-business courses each year, earning NCEA level one, two and three credits. The students spend time rearing lambs and calves, milking, drenching, planting trees as well as completing other activities and basic horticulture practices on the farm, which offers them hands on experience and exposes them to a range of potential career pathways in the rural sector.
The farm also hosts regular visitors of all ages from wider community groups, with many enjoying the opportunity to learn about the workings of the farm and spending time outdoors.
MAGS Headmaster, Patrick Drumm says “ASB MAGS Farm has a 90-year heritage and we’re excited to continue its legacy.
“ASB’s gift of this land will allow us to continue futureproofing the facilities and further diversifying the farm and we have ambitious plans for the renovation of existing buildings and the construction of an experience centre to showcase opportunities in the agri-food and fibre sector.
“Our students benefit greatly from this education, and it will be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Many students who have graduated from Mount Albert Grammar’s agri-business course have gone on to study related subjects at university or enrol in further training. Sofia Skinner a current Year 13 student is planning to study Agricultural Science at Lincoln University next year.
Sofia says “I had always dreamed of becoming a farmer but living in the middle of Auckland city, I had never even set foot on a farm before I started at MAGS. The courses offered at MAGS provide an incredible learning experience and have opened up new possibilities for me. I’m really excited to pursue farming further and to explore career pathways in the industry.”
ASB MAGS farm has previously been leased to MAGS for a token amount and operated by the MAGS Foundation on the school’s behalf. Under the gifting agreement the vast majority of the land must remain as farmland in perpetuity.