Rangitapu is owned by James Aitken, his wife Caroline and their three children, a fifth generation New Zealand sheep farming family. The name Rangitapu translates as “the cloud resting on the hill” or “the hill that supports the sky”. It is located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand about 3 miles from the sea and just below the 40 degree south line. It’s set amongst rolling grass covered hills although the steeper areas are being fenced off and planted in timber trees for harvest on a 30 year cycle. A real feature is the 23 ha private lake used for irrigation and recreation. The family have nearly completed ring fencing it to create a 32 ha reserve planted in native trees and shrubs to encourage bird life to flourish.

“We take enormous pride in the products we send off the farm and unashamedly try to grow the best in the world, part of that is treating all the stock to the highest standard of animal welfare.” - Caroline Aitken, a practicing veterinarian and past president of the New Zealand Veterinarian Association.



Rangitapu is a 1100 ha or 2700 acres farm. The farm is predominately a grass based sheep farm although cattle are also run to balance the business. They grow nearly 8000 lambs every year mostly for the Californian restaurant trade and harvest their wool in the summer which is contracted to Marks and Spencer.


Both James and his wife Caroline get a wonderful feeling every time they ride into one of their fields and see well fed lambs resting in the shade on a hot day. This is part of the animal welfare ethos they we live by:

  • Ensures Animal Welfare is prioritised at all time.
  • Play our part at the start of a supply chain that leads all the way to the consumer.
  • Set a standard that satisfies the most discerning of consumers. 
  • Take pride in being economically and environmentally sustainable. 
  • Always be passionate custodians of the land.


The farm’s mantra is every animal should have the best possible day every day while they are on the farm. This philosophy extends to the people who work there from the farm manager and shepherd to maintenance and fencing person, so that they too have a great environment in which to work, live, and raise their families.

In the lamb grazing fields they have an ongoing tree planting program. To date they have planted over 8000 poplar and willow trees for shade, shelter, soil conservation and because they enjoy trees.

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