I've been lucky enough to travel around most of our beautiful country over the past 20 or so years in my capacity as a rural and rugby radio broadcaster.
Although I've ticked most of the boxes when it comes to the provincial centres, Westport, the major town of the Buller region (population 4111) is one place I've never been to. Nor have I had the good fortune to visit the capital of the King Country, Te Kuiti (population 4630). But that's about to change.
I'm looking likely to break my Te Kuiti duck on Monday, June 19, when, like thousands of others I'll hopefully be in town for the unveiling of the Sir Colin Meads statue to honour our most iconic living New Zealander.
Sandwiched between the Maori and Chiefs Lions games, and just after Fieldays, I suspect the main street of Te Kuiti won't have seen such a population invasion since the running of the sheep at the New Zealand Shearing Championships!
You can support Pinetree's statue by making a donation to the Te Kuiti Development Incorporated bank account 02-0448-0029987-03. Imagine owning a brass piece of Pinetree for all time?
- It was a sad occasion for our family last weekend when we gathered to farewell the home and farm we grew up on, a property that has been in our family name for over 100 years. The property belonged to my late brother and over the years as he wound down his farming career to pursue an academic one, the farm gradually dwindled in size as he sold off a chunk at a time to fund his doctorate. We knew the day would come but it's incredibly difficult to farewell history.
Fortunately though, there's one remaining vestige of the old farm. It's my four hectare wetland and accompanying duckpond that has been vested in the QEII National Trust. That protects its land use for perpetuity, so I'm hoping many generations of Mackays get to go there and plant a native tree for many years to come.
The fun part of our sad farewell was the moving of the large ceremonial stone and plaque we had placed over the site of the original homestead several years earlier. With the property changing hands it was always going to make the two km trip up the road to the top of the original farm, where it will now guard the entry to the aforementioned wetland.
It would be fair to say WorkSafe's Richard Loe might have looked sideways at some of our health and safety procedures but we knocked the bastard off in the end, albeit in a display that would not have shamed the Keystone Cops. We all agreed that the large boulder, which originated from the top of the Hokonui Hills overlooking the farm, will spend the rest of eternity where it is. It's just too damn dangerous to move it again!
Which brings me to the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards, held over the weekend in the historic South Otago gold mining town of Lawrence. It's always a privilege to be asked to MC this prestigious event. Our family farm was honoured at the 2011 awards and it was wonderful my late mother and brother could enjoy the accolade at the time.
If your family farm is approaching, or has surpassed, the 100 year landmark then please take the opportunity to recognise the occasion. Life is fleeting so seize the day. I am so proud our family did. It's an honour bestowed upon few.
- So who will seize the day in the battle to replace Dr. William Rolleston in the top job at Federated Farmers? Anders Crofoot, the current vice president, and Katie Milne, adverse events spokesperson and a former Dairy Woman of the Year, will contest the presidency at next month's AGM in Wellington.
They make for an interesting contrast. Crofoot is a quietly spoken, intellectual, former high-flying American businessman who bought Castlepoint Station on the Wairarapa coast and turned its farming fortunes around. He is the sort of overseas investor even Winston would welcome! Milne is a down-to-earth, outgoing West Coast cow cocky, with a sharp wit and a good turn of phrase.
After the intellectual tenure of Dr Rolleston, it would not surprise me to see Milne become the first female president of the Feds.