At the heart of New Zealand’s heritage are the stories of the early pioneers who cultivated and transformed the country’s untamed wild land into the rich agricultural industry that exists today.
Many of their descendants continue to produce crops and livestock on the land with the same passion, hard work and perseverance shown in those early days.
The New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards programme aims to capture and preserve this important rural history, which might otherwise be lost through the generations.
Eligible families submit narratives of their farm history, together with copies of related photographs and supporting documents which are then archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, ensuring all records are kept in perpetuity.
Now in its 15th year, the awards claim over 500 families from throughout New Zealand as part of its exclusive group of centenarians and sesquicentenarians. The late Russell Brown from Lawrence, Otago heard of the initiative through some North American visitors and launched the programme in 2005, honouring its first group of families in 2006.
A formal dinner in Lawrence each May honours the awardees and their significant achievement of 100 or more years in farming. Families enjoy the special night where many stories of hardship, perseverance and success over 100+ years are shared.