We are both New Zealanders and our family's have been in New Zealand for many generations. Our ancestors came to New Zealand in the "Early Settlor days" from Scotland, England and Portugal (those from Portugal also had ancestors who originally hailed from Normandy France too). Like most people who emigrated to New Zealand at the time, our ancestors presumably sought a better life and new opportunities in this beautiful little country "Down Under".
One of Craig's Great Great Grandfathers came from Portugal with the Gold Rush in the 1800's, first trying his luck in Australia and later moving to Central Otago for the Gold Rush near Cromwell. Several generations of his descendents, including Craig's Grandfather and father, went on to grow stone fruit including peaches, apricots and nectarines and farm sheep on an orchard and farm they owned near Cromwell. Craig's mother came from a dairiy farming family in the North Island near Mt Taranaki, she trained and became a nurse and had a great sense of adventure and liked to travel. As young ladies, Craig's mother and her friend rode around the South Island on single speed bikes (a feat most people wouldn't even contemplate now) before spending time in Cromwell nursing at the local hospital. It was during her time in Cromwell that she met and married Craig's father. Craig was born in Cromwell, and lived there with his older brother & sister until his parents sold the orchard and farm property and moved their family to Te Anau when Craig was three years old. Once in Te Anau, Craig's parents managed a farm before buying their own sheep farm (Kakapo Farm) approximately 10 minutes drive from Te Anau township.
Growing up on Kakpo Farm, and the close proximity of the Fiordland National Park gave Craig a lasting love of the outdoors and he has tremendous local knowledge of the area. Craig spent time working in other areas of Southland and completed a farming related qualification before heading to Australia and working in Perth for some time. When Craig returned to New Zealand he continued to work on farms in the Fiordland area and helped on his parents farm. Craig started his own agricultural contracting business, sowing grass and crops for local farmers and making their hay and balage (bales of plastic wrapped grass silage) for winter stock feed. Craig leased his parents farm and then bought it from them when they retired and continued to run his contracting business also.
Meanwhile, I was growing up on New Zealands largest farm, Molesworth Station, a Crown owned (government owned) 500,000 acre beef cattle station located in the High County near the top of the South Island, situated between Hanmer Springs (to the South), the Inland Kaikoura Mountains (to the East), the Nelson Lakes District (to the West) and Marlborough (to the North). Growing up on Molesworth was an incredible experience, my brother and I literally had the largest back-yard of all the children in New Zealand and we gained enormous pleasure from exploring the outdoors. My parents managed the station for the Government owned Landcorp Farming Ltd from 1978 until 2001. My mother and her brother had also grown up on Molesworth because my mother's father had managed the station also. My parents met while my father worked on the station and later they married and worked on other Marlborough farms. When my grandfather retired, my parents were asked to interview for the managers job and got it, hence, two generations of my family got to grow up on this extraordinary farm.
Due to the isolation of Molesworth, my brother and I did our primary schooling by Correspondence School (our school material was posted to us and our mother taught us), before attending secondary school at boarding schools in Nelson, after which I attended Massey University in Palmerston North in the North Island. I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (focussing on animal science, agriculture and small business management) then moved back to the South Island. Around this time my parents left Molesworth and bought their own small farm near Te Anau. It was while visiting them that I fell in love with Fiordland, and decided to move here. One year later, I also fell in love with my parents lovely neighbour, Craig, who had the farm next-door!!!
Craig & I continued to farm sheep, deer and a small number of beef cattle on Kakapo Farm and were married in a Marquee on a hill on the farm overlooking Lake Te Anau and the Kepler and Murchison mountains. We have two sons, Blake & Connor, who are like us, and love nothing more than getting out for a walk in the native bush (forest) or cruising on the lakes or fiords.
We sold the farm, with the exception of a small area including the paddock (field) that we affectionately nick-named the "Wedding Paddock" where we were married, that we lease to a local deer farmer and we bought ASURE Amber Court Motel in 2007. We are both "people" people, and enjoy the social contact and opportunity to meet people from all over the world staying at the motel.
We run the motel business as a husband-wife team, with help from a small dedicated staff, and we try very hard to provide the friendly service and cleanliness of rooms that we like to receive when we are on holiday. We believe we have a great work ethic, passed down from previous generations of both of our families, and we genuinely care about our guests experience, both at our motel and in Fiordland in general.
Much of our liesure time is spent in the Fiordland National Park and we know the area very well and are passionate about Fiordland and protecting this incredible World Heritage Area for future generations to enjoy.
We love meeting people from all nationalities and look forward to welcoming you to the ASURE Amber Court Motel!