Few, if any, New Zealand sheep and beef farms have the historic background that Otiwhiti Station boasts.
Nestled in the strong Rangitikei hills16km northwest of Hunterville, the property has been home to the Duncan family since the early 1880s and is steeped in history.
Now the next chapter of its rich history is about to be written after being offered for sale by tender which closes at 1pm Thursday, July 25, with Property Brokers, 54 Kimbolton Rd, Feilding.
Today the station comprises 1679ha of strong hill country and is offered concurrently with a 10ha executive lifestyle block.
The well-known farm, which offers a multitude of business possibilities — trees, bees, food and fibre - is also the home of the renowned Otiwhiti Land Based Agricultural Training School for farm cadets. It is a joint venture between Otiwhiti and Land Based Training in Whanganui.
Otiwhiti winters over 13,500 stock units and is subdivided into 38 main paddocks, with excellent natural water. Improvements include four dwellings, extensive support buildings, 8-stand woolshed with covered yarding and multiple sets of sheep and cattle yards. The cadet school utilises the cook house, accommodation block and teaching rooms.
The lifestyle property features an immaculate six-bedroom homestead, set among mature and beautifully manicured grounds.
The training school began in 2007 and now has upwards of 16 students a year. Since its inception more than 200 students have graduated and 100 per cent of them are gainfully employed.
The property was owned by the Sir Thomas and Lady Duncan Trust in 2006 when it was bought by great-grandson Charlie Duncan and his family.
The Turakina Valley farm, 16km from Hunterville, was once part of a 16,160ha station established in 1881 and subdivided in 1909 making two farms, the other named Otairi Station farmed by Sir Thomas' brother William.
Cannabis growing in one room while child sleeps in the other
Sir Thomas and Lady Duncan provided locals with much needed jobs breaking in the property in the Great Depression of the 30s.
Once broken, the land and its production were soon to touch the lives of many more in need.
So affected by the plight of a neighbour's young son, a victim of the 1948 polio epidemic, the Duncans established a charitable trust, with proceeds from the farm used to assist young people with polio.
Through the Otiwhiti Farm Trust, the Duncans established a hospital specialising in neuro muscular disorders in Wellington which subsequently contributed to the development of life-saving, leading edge treatments including the Sister Kenny method of intensive neuro muscular physiotherapy.
It later moved to Durie Hill in Whanganui where it carried on the philanthropic work as the Duncan Hospital. It has since closed.
Advances in modern medicine have eliminated polio in young people, but the trust maintained an association with youth development charities.