Episode 6: Remote Run
Episode 6 - Remote Run
Muzzle Station, inland from Kaikoura, is so remote that living there is almost like being in a lighthouse.
When Colin and Tina Nimmo moved there in 1980 the farm was over five hours from the nearest tar seal, with access that was treacherous in winter and impassable after heavy rain.
To top it off, there was no phone or television and only a rudimentary power supply.
The 18,000-hectare Muzzle, which takes its name from a stream on the property, is in the mountainous middle section of the Clarence River.
When it came up for lease, Tina and Colin Nimmo were mustering in the Mackenzie Basin in the middle of the South Island and were itching to have a go at running a place of their own.
On their first visit to the Muzzle, Colin realised he would have to learn to fly if he and Tina were going to survive living in such an isolated place.
Once the lease was secured, he bought a Cessna 180 and took flying lessons.
After watching Colin bumping up and down the Timaru airfield, Tina was less than enthusiastic about climbing into a plane and flying into the back country, although she soon conquered her fears.
Family members thought they were mad to take the property on - and even Tina began to doubt the wisdom of the move after a series of severe weather events. One north-west gale ripped the roof off their homestead and soon after Colin's Cessna 180 was tugged from its mooring and flipped upside down.
There have been a lot of changes at the Muzzle since Country Calendar first visited the station in 1981.
The couple's two grown-up daughters now take an active role on the farm with Fiona and her husband working as stock managers.
As a teenager, Fiona's big sister Lucy struggled with living in such an isolated spot but now visits regularly, partly to oversee a thriving bee business she and her husband are running on the property. Muzzle Station bees harvest nectar from blue borage and the resulting organic honey is sold throughout New Zealand.
Helicopters have revolutionised farming on the Muzzle. Colin first saw them used for deer recovery in the Mackenzie Country and quickly realised their potential for saving time and money by helping find stock during mustering.
But some age-old traditions still serve the Nimmo family well. Both generations regularly use horses which, in this kind of country, can still be the most reliable form of transport.
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