In these interviews with lifestyle farmers they share their experiences, dreams and disasters. There are hundreds of other useful articles in our lifestyle file. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.
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When Sylvia and Wayne Dering decided to move out of town and into the country in Oxford, North Canterbury, they planned to grow something that would bring in a small income so they could work part time and enjoy the time on the land and the lifestyle.
My Mother had always wanted to get back into the country to live, "before she was too old to enjoy it" she said. We had planned on buying that piece of land once the kids had left home, we had sold the business and our Auckland house was sold.
Sandy and Terry Cooper were born in England, met in Singapore and now have a successful small farm in Upper Hutt. Sandy works in the computer industry while Terry now works full time on their land.
Seventy-two acres of hill country with poor soil quality, lots of rocky rhyolite outcrops, 30-odd acres of pine trees and strong winds is close to perfection for lifestyle blockers Shane and his partner Michaela. Which may seem odd, considering all they wanted when they started was a few sheep, chooks and a house cow and a bit of room to feel free.
Northland couple Zena and Paul and their family are proof that you don’t need lots of money to live in paradise. With hard work and compromise, they are living well on their five acres near Kerikeri. They bought their land with the intention of owning their own place and being able to provide their own food. Zena grew up in the country with “chooks, house cow, garden and a pig now and then” while Paul had a more urban upbringing and has learnt by experience as they have developed their property.
Chillies are the spice of life for Swannanoa-based lifestyle block owner Louisa Eades. Louisa and her husband Mike moved on to their 11 acre North Canterbury lifestyle block in the winter of 2006. Louisa says the main reason was to give their three boys more space to run around. "We wanted to use the land to do something productive since we were buying a small farm. I wasn't a very good gardener back then and the only plant I'd managed to keep alive was a chilli plant I'd bought from Mitre 10 and kept on my windowsill."
Gavin Martin lived on a lifestyle farm in Hanmer before moving to his current farm at Okuku in North Canterbury three years ago. He owns 9 hectares but leases some adjoining land from the regional council so altogether farms about 30-40 hectares.
Christine and Martin have lived on their 4 acre Makotuku lifestyle block for almost two years. When asked what made them buy that block, Christine answered that it was a good question!
Noel Sweetman is a lifestyler and a luthier whose customers are among the finest musicians in the world. Outside his workshop he has 40 acres of rolling hills in the tiny settlement of Te Miro in the Waikato.
Leonie and her husband Terry have twenty years’ experience living and working on lifestyle blocks, and they’ve lived with the good and the not-so-good over that time. Their present site, 18.5 acres of easy, rolling, slightly elevated land with big established trees and some very spacious outbuildings, close to Dannevirke and Norsewood, suits them very well, although Leonie says that they are reluctantly looking to sell in order to move north to a smaller property nearer their daughter.
Paul and Jen are regular contributors to our discussion group and own their first lifestyle block in the Wairarapa near Featherston.
Tara and her family have found their perfect lifestyle on a small block looking out to the Hunua Ranges. It took them twenty years to be in a position to realise their dreams and make the move to their haven on the side of a wide valley, and they think it was waiting for them, having been on the market for some time before they found it. After looking at many properties from Kaipara to Mercer, Tara says “As soon as we climbed over the gate it was just so still. No air traffic noise, no road noise, just a couple of fantails following our progress round the property, chirping at us.”