Episode 2: An Open Door
On the next episode, screening 11 April 2015 at 7pm on TV ONE:
An Open Door
Andrew Stewart is an ideas man – he likes to question everything to see if there’s a better way – and yet at the same time he’s a traditionalist.
He’s the fourth generation on the family sheep and beef farm north of Marton in Rangitikei and many of his beliefs are the same as those who’ve worked the land before him.
For instance, he’s a great believer in using horses – he says they’re an ideal way to see what’s going on as he moves around the farm’s steep country and they’re also a great way to move stock at a gentle, unstressed pace.
But Andrew also has more than his fair share of radical ideas.
In 2007, four years after he’d taken over the family farm, he and his new wife Kylie surprised everyone by leasing the land out and embarking on a world trip.
They worked in several countries, travelled through even more – and while they were visiting South Africa they hit on an idea that would change their lives.
They stayed on a farm that had transformed some rustic huts into guest accommodation – and decided they’d do the same thing at home.
When they got back, old buildings surrounding their home underwent transformation, each given a special rustic feel and decorated with memorabilia that was already on the property.
“Andrew’s family for three generations before us were collectors – and as we began developing the buildings, we realised what would make us different was using all the old things,” Kylie says. “Often we get farm-stay guests enquiring if they can buy things or asking what antique shop things came from, but in fact it’s all come from our very own antique shop, which was the original homestead.”
The Stewarts do more than provide farm accommodation – they also encourage their guests to get involved in the life of the farm.
Central to that is their farm worker, Keegan Fox, who enjoys showing visitors how to shear, draft sheep, or handle a dog.
Kylie runs the accommodation side of things with help from other locals, while Andrew continues to run the 635-hectare farm – mostly in ways similar to his predecessors, but with quite a few innovations.
The biggest change is the introduction of The Mudder. Every Spring, they throw the farm open to thrill seekers who slip and slide through their dams and creeks in an off-road run.
The one thing that’s guaranteed is that all competitors end up covered in mud from head to foot – and all of them enjoy it.
Andrew says the farmstay and the mud run come from the same philosophy – which is to look at what you’ve got and work out the best way to capitalise on it.
For more about the Stewarts' farmstay, visit: www.rangitikeifarmstay.co.nz
For more about this year's Mudder fun run, visit: www.eventfinder.co.nz/2015/the-mudder/whanganui
Post Production Manager