Dunster, North Canterbury

Whilst the internet phenomenon of the last 20 years has obsessed globally, the good fortune of climate and separation will always ensure food and water remain permanent NZ assets.
Takutai bought Dunster farm in 2006. It was a 656 acre farm of productive rolling country, in North Canterbury. Historically, the farm has run dry stock with a capacity for 2000 sheep and 200 cattle, on relatively easy-care land. The farm is at the low end of economic viability for land area. Due to this, the farming operation has been leased to a neighbour who manages it seamlessly with their own property.

Over 70 years Dunster has developed its own unique character and history – Takutai’s involvement is to preserve this, and hopefully enhance it for future generations.

Capital works are undertaken by Takutai – these include a variety of activities, some directly related to the farm operation and some motivated by an ambition “to leave the land better than we found it”. A good working partnership between the farmer and Takutai are essential for commercial, and sentimental, balance to live together – local history plays a big part in assisting this. You will be able to see from the news/photographs some of the projects undertaken.


Removal of 100’s of large willows from the stream that runs through the farm, to the Waiau river. Over some years a 30 tonne excavator was contracted to dig the trees out and place in piles. After drying, also over years, several burns were required before digging the residue in to new pasture.


Fencing is a constant capital/maintenance requirement on a working farm. Apart from replacement, we have an ambitious goal to constantly upgrade.


Forestry is a relatively new initiative – eventually we intend to plant up to a third of the farm in trees – this will be on areas which are erosion prone. Today we have 150 acres planted, or being prepared – interestingly, the last of these have been under a NZ government afforestation grant scheme.