Like many, I'm not from a farming background and grew up in suburban Dunedin and later, Auckland.
Midway through 1975 I left the concrete jungle of Queen Street and moved north with my fiance to take up a sharemilking position on the Pouto Peninsula. That lasted 18 months but was the beginning of my love affair with cows. From there we moved to an agro-forestry farm where I spent 12 years in forestry starting off with planting on wages and later getting my own contract to prune and thin to waste. The company house came with 10 acres and I continued with my cows, had 60 chickens the eggs of which I sold locally and had my second love affair, this time with pigs. I also reared, mostly successfully, mismothered/orphan calves and lambs off the farm. I did a lot of casual work as well over shearing, docking, haymaking etc.
When my marriage fell apart I moved to Taupo and then back to Auckland - 17 years in a rural environment does not make getting work an easy task in the city I met Kevin, a widower with two young children, and we made the decision to move back to Taupo from Auckland. We bought our 25 acres that came with a tiny Lockwood home, a double garage that was bigger than the house, hardly any fences, a set of stockyards, broom, ragwart, blackberry and two pet sheep. 6 years later we still had a tiny house but had fenced and pretty much got rid of the broom and ragwart, had reared the first calves, bought two cows and 10 sheep. One of the calves, the two cows and the sheep were to become the foundation of my current herd of cows and flock of sheep.
Somewhere along the line we decided we could get better value for our money elsewhere and started to look around. We missed on several properties in the Dannevirke area because our own place hadn't sold then cast our net northwards - and everything fell into place. Our place sold at the same time as our current place became available. After a nightmare move which saw all the sheep, cows, and pigs, one with a 3 day old litter of 11, on a truck travelling 600kms, we arrived on a 60 acre block just south of Kaitaia.
We have since added to that 60 acres and are about to negotiate for 64 acres on the other side of the road which we have been leasing for the last 5 years.
My cow herd has increased to 10, my sheep flock varies and unfortuanately the pigs have gone on the back burner for the meantime for various reasons. I have a very lucrative little side line selling milk for pigs and calves. Kevin operates his own heavy diesel business for which I do the admin.