Te Mania History

In February 1928, Mr Frank Armstrong of Akitio, Southern Hawke’s Bay gave his daughter Esther, on her marriage to Edwin Wilding, four top Angus cows and an outstanding bull Tiniber Bay of Akitio. These were the founding cows of the Te Mania herd.

The Akitio Angus stud was established in 1908 when Frank Armstrong purchased the bulk of the Scottish importations, brought in at the turn of the century, at the Marainga-Handyside dispersal sale. On arrival to New Zealand these animals had to swim ashore!

In June of 1928 the five walking wedding presents arrived at Wilanda in Southland in six inches of snow and they were registered under the Wilanda name.

In 1934 the Wilding family, together with the cattle, moved  to Conway Flat in North Canterbury to a property named Te Mania and the stud name changed to Te Mania also.

In 1943 Te Mania, in-conjunction with the Angus Society started a multi-vendor bull sale in Christchurch. Te Mania continued to sell at this sale until 1967 when their first on-farm bull sale was conducted. 35 bulls were sold in the first on-farm sale. In 2012 160 bulls were catalogued in the June sale and 50 in the Spring Sale.

In 1952 the stud was transferred to Edwin’s son Frank Wilding and his new wife Jo. The herd consisted of about 30 cows then and it has steadily increased in numbers to over 800 registered females today.

Frank was instrumental in setting the Te Mania herd down the track of its productivity and performance based program. Before taking over the herd Frank had travelled overseas and worked on cattle ranches in America, Canada and South Africa and they were all contemplating weighing cattle. Then he spent a few months at an Agricultural College in England where one of the Professors drummed into him the benefits of recording and showed him what had been done in Friesians.

In 1962 scales were installed at Te Mania and weaning, yearling and two year weights were recorded on the cattle. Data was sent to Lincoln College for animal evaluation and in those early days it was done with an adding machine!

In the early 1960s Frank began the mating the Te Mania yearling heifers again, after hearing what was being achieved with Friesians. This practice was introduced along with a shortening of the mating period, which has tested the fertility of the herd.

In the 1970s Agricultural scientists from Lincoln and Massey advised the Canterbury Westland Angus Ward to put together a bull test station to performance test cattle. In each year of entry a Te Mania bull topped the list and, in the last year of entry 11 out of the top 17 animals were either bred at Te Mania or were sired by Te Mania Sires.

In the late 1970s Frank started using a vet to take and certify scrotal measurements on the bulls. It was a practice he had seen in use in Australia and he saw the value in bringing it to the Te Mania herd.

The Te Mania stud was further extended by the transfer of 58 females and 2 bulls to Andrew and Mary Gubbins in Victoria, Australia. Mary is Frank Wilding’s sister.

These adaptable cattle not only coped with the trans-Tasman voyage remarkably well but over the next 42 years have developed into a highly productive herd of over 1200 fertile and sound females

As soon as the Angus breed society allowed Artificial insemination Te Mania embarked on AI programme. The real success of AI did not come until it was possible to import semen in from proven bulls. In the early 1980s Andrew and Mary Gubbins imported a US bull into Australia – VPI Lord Patriot and Frank bought this semen into New Zealand for an AI programme. Te Mania was one of the first studs to use US semen and has continued to strategically use proven sires from around the world to this day.

In 1978 Te Mania was involved in a partnership carrying out the first embryo transfer programme of Angus cattle in Australasia. Te Mania provided the five heifers and semen and 31 embryos were transferred into recipient cows in Western Australia. 22 pregnancies were achieved and the cattle were run by Gail Holding.

In 1976 Te Mania set up a joint venture and shipped 10 heifers and one bull back to Scotland, which were the first Angus to be shipped back to Scotland. They also had two bulls in the first shipment of Angus cattle to the US.

Te Mania New Zealand joined the Australian Angus Society after Te Mania Australia started and was also part of PERT Angus – The Performance Tested Angus Group with three Australian studs.

In 1982 Tim and Katie Wilding took over the Te Mania herd. Tim continued with a performance driven cattle breeding programme. This resulted in Te Mania being the first New Zealand herd to use Australasia Group BREEDPLAN.

In the early 1990s the first carcase evaluation techniques were introduced to New Zealand and Te Mania was quick to uptake this technology.

In the mid 1990s a joint venture was set up in China and two plane loads of heifers went from Te Mania to establish this joint venture in Northern China

Through the acquisition of more land and the use of ET and AI, saw the herd expand rapidly from the late 1990s through to mid 2000s to over 800 breeding cows

In 2004 a  company restructure saw the implementation of a new management team to further ensure Te Mania’s status as one of New Zealand’s leading Angus studs. John Harrington took over as Managing Director and Lindsay Haugh as Beef Production Manager.

In 2010 Te Mania started using DNA technology - HD50K to further accelerate genetic gain.
In October 2014, John Harrington moved on and Will Wilding is now stock manager

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