On the next episode, screening 9th July 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
Cattle at the Cascade
In the far southwest of the country, well beyond the range of cell phones and tar seal, is a cattle-block run by two families who love the adventure of visiting their remote farm.
Johnny and Maria Collins of North Otago have had the pastoral lease on the 1200 hectare block bordering the Cascade River for more than ten years. They co-own it with long-time friend Keith Muldrew.
The two families run a herd of 375 cows in the valley and make regular trips to the Cascade to tend them. April means it’s time for the autumn muster.
Every April is muster time and they are helped by friends and family who leap at the chance to return each year for a few days’ retreat.
“It’s hard to get rid of them!” laughs Johnny “They love it here though; they treat like a holiday.”
There are no dogs on this muster – it’s done using horses and quad bikes. The river valley is relatively flat, which makes for a straight-forward muster.
There are few fences and the natural boundaries of the rivers and the bush contain the cattle.
“The cows basically have free range,” Johnny says. “We have a holding paddock for weaning, a bull paddock, and those are the only fences.”
Rainfall in the Cascade averages four metres a year and fencing the land would be near impossible, Johnny says. “With the way the rivers are here, you’d put a fence up today, it’d be gone tomorrow.”
After the calves are weaned in the yards, they are trucked three hours to the sale yards in Omakau in Central Otago for sale.
Home for the Collins family is Palmerston, south of Oamaru, which means a five hour drive to the Cascade, but the family loves to to get there whenever they can.
Johnny’s wife Maria and their daughters Bridget and Pippa are all keen horse riders and say the Cascade is a giant playground.
“I’ve always loved coming here; the rivers, the jet-boating, the hunting,” says 17-year-old Bridget. “We get to see some amazing places.”
“It’s a great partnership that we’ve got with Keith,” Maria says. “And it’s an absolute privilege to have this piece of the country and to be able to share it with family and friends.”
“I think I’d be in power of trouble with our friends if I ever talked of selling it,” laughs Johnny. “But they’ve got no worries there.”
For more about Haast and south Westland, visit:http://www.westcoast.co.nz/west-coast-regions/haast-world-heritage/
For more about hunting in the Cascade, visit:http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/things-to-do/hunting/where-to-hunt/west-coast/south-westland-hunting/where-to-hunt/cascade-hope-gorge/?region=westcoast&park=dbda16e0-979e-4639-9ca3-3754c736818c&activity=hunting#activitypanel
For more about Greenstone Helicopters visit:http://www.greenstonehelicopters.co.nz/
For more about Omakau on the Otago Rail Trail, visit:http://www.otagorailtrail.co.nz/omakau-accommodation
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