The original genetic base for the herd was imported from the United Kingdom and Germany. Semen was obtained from a wide range of top red stags allowing John and Mel to evaluate their performance within the herd. John and Mel are big believers in using outside bloodlines to give outside vigour to the herd. They have used english park, furzeland, german and eastern. They have also purchased stags that stand out in the New Zealand sales.
John and Mel are always striving to increase weight and quality each year. At present the farm’s four year and above velvet stags are averaging 6.7 kilograms first cut velvet. Twenty five years ago the same age animals were achieving just three kilograms showing the genetic gains that the farm has made. In 2001 the stud was also the first in New Zealand to produce a two year old that cut over five kilograms of velvet. Arawata is a big supporter of estimated breeding values ( EBVs) and has been on Deerselect for a large number of years. We place a large emphasis on growth rates in our English cross herd, as we believe that you can have big English deer with good velvet. We also sell some sires as maternal sires with good 12 month EBVs backed by good 12 month and 2 year live weights.