Margaret Schnell (nee Newton) grew up on a sheep and beef property near Shannon in the Manawatu. In her younger days she spent a lot of time exploring out on the farm with her horse Bonnie. An unbroken horse that her father brought home, Bonnie was a bit of a rogue with Margaret being the only one who could do anything with her. An active Young Farmers Club member, Margaret met her husband Brian at a local dance. He was dairy farming in Whakarongo at the time, and she was a Karitane Nurse.
After Brian and Margaret had married, for a few years they lived on his family farm at Whakarongo but as the city was expanding and council rates exploded, they decided go look further afield for a farm of their own which they found at Bunnythorpe in 1983. Luckily Brian was a bit of a handyman and he converted the former horse farm into a functioning dairy farm in no time. With their girls in tow Margaret was in charge of feeding all of the calves as well as getting out and about to playcenter and other activities.
Brian maintained all of the bookwork for their property, until he started falling asleep in front of it each night. It was then decided that Margaret would also take that on to help share the load and she found herself becoming more and more involved in the day to day running of the farm. This allowed Brian more time to experiment with his love of engineering and building things. To save money when they were just starting out, Brian built his own cowshed and races as well as building and selling silage wagons, wool presses and other machinery.
Brian and Margaret now have their daughter and son in law as 50:50 sharemilkers on their robotic dairy farm, a partnership which is working extremely well for all parties. Margaret still remains involved in the farm, helping out with Farm Tours that they run on the property.