Even though Justine Blackburn now bases herself out of the picturesque Lake Hawea where she is a casual muster for some of the country's historic and well known sheep stations, this down to earth country girl grew up in Ongarue king country.
For Justine her love for farming and the shepherding lifestyle was born growing up on a beef and venison farm. She is the youngest of 3, and believes growing up with two older brothers pushed her throughout her whole life and still continue to challenge her today. Something she is forever grateful for and believes has shaped her into the strong woman she has become.
She says her parents always supported her with all the mad ideas that she seemed to come up with, which helped her learn and get through lifes challenges and reach her goals.
Through out high school Justine wasn't quite sure where her path was going to lead and when it came time to leave she said she still had no idea.
It was from here that she went out and experienced a number of different job opportunities and gained experience in many different work aspects. This started in Taumarunui where she was employed by McSkimming shearing and worked in the woolsheds for a couple of seasons and in the off season tested her skills on Mt Ruapehu mountain as a "lifty" for a winter.
It was then that Justine decided to cross the seas and spent a season on a Madura station a sheep station based on the Madura Plains in Western Australia before moving on to a cattle station before returning to NZ. Once home she tried her hand at agricultural contracting making silage, hay, and ground work for 8 years. Primarily Justine was based Taumarunui but worked all around King Country, National park, Piopio, Aria areas and also Australia for a while.
Following some great years of experience and seeing a lot of country Justine decided she wanted to go full time farming so I got hold of a couple of young dogs and went to her first job. She was there for 3 Years and came away with 5 fully broken in dogs and knew that she had found her true passion and calling. She wanted to be on the land mustering and breaking in dogs as she went, so where best to do that than in the South Island.
For the last couple of years Justine has made the South Island home, she started out by spending 1 1/2 years on a West Coast station, where she found it was a great opportunity to train another couple young dogs before making the decision to go casual mustering.
A decision she says has been great so far, while having a good look around and meeting some great people along the way.
Now living at Lake Hawea, Justine splits her time between Lake McKay, Lake Hawea, Mt Albert, Motatapu and Caberfeidh station as a casual muster. What a brilliant way to get to see some of the best views and country no one else gets to experience. We are thrilled that you have found your passion Justine. You sound like a woman of many talents, maybe that 'perfect woman'. We wish you all the best and thank you for sharing your Agwoman journey.