The Science

Science-first farming and land management

Our Ethos

We believe above all else that with the right practices and vision in place, agriculture can be regenerative and sustainable. An approach that benefits the land, the animals, the environment, and the communities who work in and around rural properties. We use science and data, community and insight as the foundation of all that we do at Criffel Station.

One Health

One Health describes the collaboration of varied disciplines working together to provide optimal health of water, environment, animals and people. It is a virtuous self-reinforcing cycle that helps to improve the reputations of New Zealand producers within this country and beyond. It is about focussing not just on the monetary value of the agri-sector but also the esteem in which products are held. We believe this is communicated through the relationship producers have with the land.

In 2020, Criffel Station was one of 25 pilot farms that piloted the New Zealand Farm Assurance Plan Plus Framework. This Framework is effectively setting farming standards to support our production in a sustainable way while adding value to our agricultural product. One Health encompasses:


This aspect focusses on using Nature-based Solutions in our farming practices, reducing air pollution and waste management

See more on Nature-based Solutions below.


Developing a sustainable water catchment management plan, that involves testing and where possible going beyond industry standards.


Taking a proactive risk-based animal health and welfare planning approach. This aspect requires properties to adhere to the core concepts which the NZ Animal Welfare Act (1999) is founded on:

  • Proper and sufficient food and water.
  • Adequate shelter.
  • Opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour.
  • Physical handling in a manner which minimises the likelihood of unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
  • Proactive documented animal health plans that are annually reviewed and risk assessed by a veterinarian to ensure protection from, and rapid diagnosis of, any significant injury or disease – being a need which, in each case, is appropriate to the species, environment, and the circumstances of the animal.

Or more simply, proactive animal husbandry that results in truly happy animals.


Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace where a team feels supported, encouraged and rewarded is just part of this aspect of One Health. It is also about the flow on effect of a rural entity on suppliers, guests and the broader community that supports or, through employment, is supported by a rural property. One Health properties take care to ensure involvement with the community as valuable and respected contributors to the overall health of their rural property.

Agriculture is not the end in itself: it is part of a value chain that culminates in consumption – but to be successful we need to ensure our landscapes, our people and the animals are nurtured.

Read more

Ecosystem services

The team at Criffel Station have embedded an ecosystem service (ES) approach across everything we do. At an elementary level, ES refers to the direct and indirect contributions that functioning ecosystems make to human well-being – they are essential for human survival and quality of life. ES is commonly divided into three types – regulating, cultural and provisioning. All three underpin activities at Criffel in the following ways:

Regulating ES – these represent the core feedback mechanisms of nature. If you get these right, the more obvious cultural and provisioning ES thrive. Examples include erosion minimisation, water supply quality, a healthy soil biota that ensures nutrient cycling, and highly designed planting to encourage water storage, pollination, and biodiverse habitat management.

Cultural ES – these are the so-called ‘soft’ benefits derived from contact with nature, including recreational activities and opportunities to sustain mental, cultural and physical health. Criffel transfers these to our communities through agritourism tours, learning experiences and taking guests beyond the gate for immersive experiences. We aim to deepen understanding through connection to the land.

Provisioning ES – the most commonly appreciated services provided by nature are the provision of food, fibre, medicine and water. By ensuring firstly the health of regulating ES, provisioning services are not only enhanced but, critically, embedded into resilient production systems. As well as providing a sustainable source of deer products, Criffel is renowned for its water management approach, ensuring a stable and pure water source to the community in the catchment of the Station’s high country.


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