On the next episode, screening 19 March 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
Heads Above Water
At a time when many young New Zealand families can’t manage to buy a house, Scott and Julayne Thompson may have found a way to buy a farm.
In 2008 the Thompsons began managing Rimunui Station in the wild Waitotora Valley in South Taranaki for absentee owner Tom McLunnie. Tom’s primary interest in the property is the hunting block out the back, not necessarily the sheep and beef portion that occupies a bigger footprint and much better farming terrain.
Tom says, “The truth of the matter is farms like this are not suitable for absentee owners - they have to be owner-operated”. This is because an owner-operator can be more adaptable to the changing conditions that make Sheep and Beef farming unpredictable.
In 2011 Scott made Tom aware that he and Julayne were determined to try and find a farm of their own. To Scott’s astonishment Tom suggested a leasing arrangement where he would help finance the young couple into purchasing all the livestock and plant at Rimunui.
Tom explained that this way they could build their equity while staying on at the station. He says “when they pay off the loan for the stock and the plant and own all of that, they will have a nice piece they can put towards buying the farm.”
The deal was done in about a day and the Thompsons have been leasing Rimunui from that point. The arrangement is just what Scott and Julayne desire - they both grew up around farms and they want their kids to have the same opportunities.
Their children seven-year-old Charlotte and five-year-old Lachlan are entwined in daily life at Rimunui. Scott says that “the whole point of having kids is to spend time together”. When Charlotte and Lachie are not at school they are invariably with their parents living normal family life and often helping out on tasks around the farm.
Scott says that his young offspring can be trusted to care for all 15 of his farm dogs; they exercise them, clean their kennels and feed them the correct amount of food. Julayne adds that Charlotte has a particular affinity with animals and loves to be involved in the actual farm work.
They say that Charlotte has been working with dogs since she was three and that she will happily grab a dog and push up 1000 ewes into the yards as she works all day beside her parents.
But it hasn’t all been easy. On the 20th June 2015 their farm was caught in the midst of the biggest recorded flood in the district's history. The Thompsons lost 13 cattle and numerous ewes, and kilometres of fence line - much of it brand new - was either washed away or badly damaged.
The story of the flood’s knock-on effects are a demonstration that Scott and Julayne have still got a lot of hard work in front of them.
But Scott and Julayne are determined to stick at the job. Julayne says, “That’s farming. You just have to carry on, it doesn’t get done by anyone else you’ve got to actually do it yourself.”
For Scott the end goal hasn’t changed. It might just take longer to achieve; “For us to actually get our name on the title one day, would be a dream come true.”
For more about Rimunui, visit: https://rimunuistation.wordpress.com/
Rimunui on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rimunuistation/
To contact Scott and Julayne Thompson: firstname.lastname@example.org
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