Families’ persistence honoured

Mark Patterson. Photo: ODT files
Mark Patterson. Photo: ODT files
Farming families from across the country were honoured for their "tenacity" and longevity on Saturday night, during the annual Century Farms event in Lawrence.

Guest of honour was Minister for Rural Communities and Associate Minister of Agriculture Mark Patterson — himself a Lawrence area farmer — who paid homage to the tenacity of awardees for farming the same land for 100 years or more.

Mr Patterson said those families present were typically the "bedrock" of their communities, driving local clubs, committees and civic improvements for the benefit of all.

Mr Patterson acknowledged the tough economic times farmers were facing, in common with other New Zealanders, and outlined some of the coalition government’s plans to address those challenges.

Among the 41 families receiving their awards for 100 or 150 years’ unbroken farming was the Philip family, of Stoneburn, which lies between Palmerston and Macraes.

First to step on to the land was John Philip, who bought 1485ha for £650, in 1910.

This was made possible by the legislative action of former minister of lands John MacKenzie, in 1892, which broke up large land estates for settlement.

The run was originally part of Shag Valley Station, and renamed Cloverdowns by Mr Philip.

About 250 people attended the awards dinner held at Simpson Park, where they enjoyed a three-course meal put on by local caterers and volunteers, led by the Wild Walnut Cafe.

Century Farms chairman Eddie Fitzgerald said he was delighted with the turnout for the event, which has been running since 2006.

He thanked sponsors and volunteers for their generous support.