Taihape born and bred, quintessential AgWomen Kristin Churchward is just as much at home on the farm, as she is flinging a pair of gumboots. The mother of three young girls, splits her time between managing home life, running their lease block alongside her husband Matt, as well as tossing the odd gumboot or two.
Kristin grew up on her family farm east of Taihape. She went to boarding school at Nga Tawa School in Marton, and then followed on to Massey University in Palmerston North, completing a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Agriculture. Post uni Kristen gained practical farm experience spending time working on Erewhon Station in the South Island. A time that she reflects greatly on.
"Doing my own beat on the autumn muster at Erewhon was a highlight for me. I also picked up a lot of horse skills, driving a team of six Clydesdales for the wagon and cultivating ground, as Colin did most things by horse power instead of tractor. I have some great memories working down there as Colin is a real stlckler for doing things traditionally. We walked and rode the horses (clydes) everywhere. No choppers or motorbikes, Colin called them whirly birds and crotchrockets. We grew and cut oats for the horses the traditional way, ploughing and planting with horses, and cutting with a sickle bar mower. We had an old chaff cutter to cut them and we would bag them in the old hessian sacks."
Kristin then ventured off on the traditional OE with her future husband Matt. When the couple returned to New Zealand they settled back in to Taihape, with marriage and children following on in natural progression. Kristin and Matt now lease three quarters of the family sheep and beef farm, 460 hectares, from Kristin's parents. Running a breeding and finishing unit, with 90% being finished on the property.
"Matt and I work really well together and share in the decision making around the farm. Our skills complement one another - I love the stock work and try and get out a few times a week around the kids, and Matt is great at using his engineering skills around the place.I love being outdoors and in the elements. It is so rewarding seeing your product grow from the start through to the end. I love our lifestyle and what we offer to our kids."
Being from Taihape, farming is not Kristin's only claim to fame, she also holds the New Zealand Women's Record for Gumboot Throwing. NZ Gumboot Day, synonymous with Taihape, started in 1985 and has been around for as long as Kristin can remember, always being something her family were involved in as part of the local community. For the last three years the New Zealand Gumboot Throwing Championships have been held alongside the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games, of which Kristin has won twice. Last year was a hotly contested competition and a pregnant Kristin lost out to Dame Valerie Adams. Winning this years title has meant that Kristin has qualified for the World Champs in Finland, but unfortunately she is unable to attend due to family commitments.
We love it! So we have heard the The World Wellington Boot Throwing Championship are to be held in Taihape, New Zealand in 2019 Kristin, no doubt you will have all of us cheering you on!