Looking forward, Malcolm says while land in Matawai doesn’t become available often, they’ll definitely look for the opportunity expand if it does.
“I think we need to grow the business to keep up,” he says. “To have a productive farm, the size increases every year - 400 ha used to be a pretty productive farm, but you need to aim a bit higher than that now.
“It’s an economy of scale and the scale keeps moving, so we’ve got to keep moving with it.”
The couple’s three kids – identical twin daughters Isobel and Fritha, and son Murdoch - will have the option of farming Puketia if they want it, but there’s no pressure.
“To be fair, it would probably be easier if no-one wanted to go farming because we’d be able to help them all the same in whatever they’re doing,” Malcolm says.
“But all of the kids know how to shear a sheep, how to velvet stags, calve cows - they can all do it.”
Fritha is a civil servant, Isobel is a Rural Vet Technician, and Murdoch is shepherding in Pahiatua. Caroline says they instilled a strong work ethic in their kids from day one.
“I see a lot of children not getting out of bed and sleeping until lunchtime, then they get up and go to bed at midnight - and I don’t believe that’s how the world is - and it never will be,” she says.
“So we were quite hard in instilling that in our kids - they’re all hard workers - so if you want to sleep, you can go to bed early - but you still get up early.”
Asked what the secret to his success was, Malcolm says it all comes down to persistence.