IHC calves head to big South Island sales

Media release

27 November 2017


Hundreds of IHC calves are getting ready for an important date in South Island sale yards.

For the past few months, dairy farmers have been fattening these calves for sale, with the intention of donating the proceeds to IHC. IHC calves are generally bought by beef farmers for raising on.

Nationwide last season 4200 farmers donated to the scheme, and $1.4 million was raised. Prices so far this year are even higher than last year’s record season.

For more than 30 years dairy farmers from across the country have got in behind the scheme. Their donated calves have raised more than $30 million to support people with intellectual disabilities to have satisfying lives in the community.

“Right now we are in the middle of the IHC calf sales,” says Greg Millar, IHC National Manager Fundraising. “The North Island sales are coming to an end and the focus is now on the South Island. Lorneville (Southland) and Temuka are the biggest two sales, with 464 calves up for auction in Lorneville and 380 calves in Temuka.

“The Calf Scheme is potentially one of the most iconic and unsung fundraising schemes operating throughout rural New Zealand each year. And this year is a special one because we are doing this in memory of the late great Sir Colin Meads, who was a supporter of the scheme from the start and Patron for many years.”

Greg says the Calf Scheme has always been much more than just the money, as vital as this is for IHC’s work each year.

“It is too easy for us to forget what life was like for a person with an intellectual disability 30 years ago. They were often locked up in institutions from a very young age, separated from family and community. It was barbaric,” Greg says. 

Dairy farmers from around New Zealand joined IHC and parents of children with intellectual disabilities to say this was unacceptable, and these farmers put a huge amount of support behind making sure people were included in their communities.

Although people with intellectual disabilities thankfully no longer live in those large, heartless institutions, there is still so much we need to do for people with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand,” he says.

“The life expectancy of someone with an intellectual disability is alarmingly lower than the general population – 25.5 years less if you’re a female and 12 years less if a male.  A third of people with intellectual disabilities live with chronic health conditions, are three times more likely to receive care or treatment for a mental disorder, are dispensed nearly twice as many different types of prescription drugs, live at home with their families, and are five times more likely to have felt lonely in the past four weeks.”

Sales of the calves will continue until the end of January 2018. IHC encourages people to come along. Sale locations and dates are listed below:

Kaikohe IHC Weaner Wednesday 29 November

Blenheim open cattle & IHC calf Wednesday 29 November 

Golden Bay IHC calf Thursday 30 November

Manawatu / Wairarapa Feilding IHC weaner Thursday 30 November

Brightwater IHC calf Wednesday 6 December

Canterbury Park IHC calf Wednesday 6 December

Lorneville IHC Livestock Wednesday 6 December

Temuka IHC weaner/calf Thursday 14 December

Ross Cattle & IHC calf Wednesday 24 January  2018

Balclutha IHC calf Wednesday 31 January 2018




For more information please contact:

Phillip Wakefield
Senior Communications Advisor
022 010 4437


About the IHC Calf Scheme

The IHC Calf & Rural Scheme started in 1984 when the scheme was trialled in Taranaki by dairy farmer Norm Cashmore. Encouraged by the success in the first year, the scheme was rolled out across the country and includes all livestock. The late Sir Colin Meads was involved with the scheme for more than 30 years.

IHC understands the importance of having dairy farmers behind its efforts to ensure community living for people with intellectual disabilities.  Although the last of the institutions (Kimberley Centre in Levin) closed in 2006, there is still so much that still needs to be done to ensure people with intellectual disabilities can live satisfying lives in the community.

Donated money helps IHC provide parents, caregivers and teachers with support and information about intellectual disabilities; community liaison support for young families; an extensive volunteer programme to help ensure friendship in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities; a comprehensive IHC advocacy programme on behalf of 92,000 people with intellectual disabilities and their families, including grass roots community advocacy; and respond to local needs through IHC local associations.