Neil Houghton had a knack for finding rare tractors. Over his lifetime, the Ngarua farmer found and restored so many tractors, his son Brent Houghton lost count.

"You'll be driving with Dad in his old International truck around the place," Brent said. "And you'll be driving past a barn and he'll say 'did you see that? That's an old 1948 whatever' and then you'll go back and think 'oh no he's found something else'.

Two years ago Neil passed away. Now the family has decided to auction off his tractor collection at their farm in Ngarua next Saturday.

"It hasn't been an easy decision to sell them," Brent said. "They are to be enjoyed. That's what Dad did. So we made the call really."

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Thirty-eight tractors from Neil's collection will be sold. Brent and his brothers have spent the past year getting the tractors ready to sell.

"He just loved playing with tractors, you know. We grow older but we're still young boys at heart.

All the tractors come from the John Deere collection, with the oldest from 1935.

Also in the auction are stationary motors and other unique farm antiques, such as an icecream maker.

Auctioneer, Alistair Beer said he expected around 500 people to attend the auction, with bidders coming from all over the world.

"This auction in particular is quite unique because it is probably the biggest collection of John Deere tractors in New Zealand, certainly the most impressive with the quality of them," Beer said.

"You will not see this kind of collection of tractors up for sale possibly ever again in New Zealand."

While Neil was well known for his tractor collection, Brent says there was much more to him.

"Life wasn't easy on the farm, there was six of us. Dad worked hard. He got involved in the church, missions, he liked to give back.

"I don't want to portray Dad as someone who just worked on tractors, he had quite a life outside of that as well."

The auction - at 21 Maungakawa Rd, Ngarua - will start at 10am on March 9.

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