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Hyundai Country Calendar


Episode 14: A Dream Run

Country Calendar on TVNZ OnDemand

On the next episode screening 17 May 2014 at 7pm on TV ONE

A Dream Run

It's taken them 40 years of hard work, but John and Helen McFadzean have their dream farm - the historic and picturesque Glenburn Station on the Wairarapa coast.

It's one of the country's largest coastal farms with 4,000 hectares of steep hill country and coastal flats.

"You couldn't wake up to a better spot in New Zealand or anywhere in the world," says John. "It's a tremendous station with the sea on our front doorstep."

Helen says coming to the station felt "so right".

"Our last child went off to university and I didn't have to go through the empty nest syndrome because there was always plenty do to and wonderful people to meet."

John and Helen, who are both from Wairarapa farming families, dreamed of owning a large station from the time they were teenagers. As a 12-year-old, John started reading about sheep stations while Helen spent her boarding school years reading about the high country and horses.

But they thought the dream of owning a big station had passed them by when they initially missed out on buying Glenburn Station 16 years ago. It had been in the hands of the Riddford family for 100 years and John and Helen thought this would be their one chance to buy it.

"I came out with a land agent, took one look at it and thought this is the place. We tried our best but we weren't able to put it together. We were disappointed and thought the opportunity had gone forever," says John.

The farm was bought by an investment group from the United States but, to the surprise of the McFadzeans, after seven years the Americans decided to sell. This time the couple were able to complete the deal, and they became proud owners in 2007.

John and Helen farm 13 thousand sheep and cattle, with sheep the mainstay of the station's income.

"I love farming sheep," says John. "It's a great sight in the shearing shed with the shearers working in unison and the fleeces flying."

He's also renowned in the Wairarapa as a cattle farmer - for the last 30 years he's achieved the top price for weaners at the Masterton Saleyards, a record he's keen to maintain.

Helen's in charge of accommodation on the station - and with 51 beds in nine buildings, from baches to a homestead, it's a fulltime job.
"I have some lovely backpackers who come and help. I'm also the maintenance person so I'm usually on the end of a hammer or a paintbrush," says Helen. "It's challenging work, but it's a privilege to be on Glenburn."

To find out more about Glenburn Station, visit

To find out more about tracks and walks in the Wairarapa, visit:

To find out more about visiting the Wairarapa region:


Frank Torley

Barrington West

Field Sound
Kevin Hill

Te Rurehe Paki

Colour Grader
Alex Wright

Sound Mixer
Ian Leslie

Post Production Manager
Bailey Palmer

Production Manager
Robyn Best

Vivienne Jeffs

Network Executive
Jude Callen

Associate Producer
Dan Henry

Richard Langston

Julian O'Brien