We’re pretty lucky. We live on a coastal farm just metres from a well known reliable surf break. We have access to abundant seafood and fresh vegetables and yet we live only two hours from central Wellington.
Alistair (Tora) and I are Wairarapa born and bred and have lived together at Tora Station for a whirlwind 20 years. Our four children, twins Ben and Sophie (20 yrs), Sam (18yrs), and Nick (15yrs) were all born and raised on the farm and have now flown the coop; working, studying or at boarding school.
When not chasing sheep and cattle, Tora is an active member of the community. Recently retired from club rugby, he enjoys playing golf and club cricket and watching almost any sport, except for the America’s Cup! Tora loves meeting people and has quite the reputation for telling a good yarn!
In a past life I spent a few years in retail and merchant banking, and after a couple of extended overseas trips I returned to Martinborough to make wine at my parent’s farm -Blue Rock vineyard, now owned by Murdoch James Estate.
Both of us attended Lincoln University, with Alistair studying a B.Ag.Com from 1984-1988 and I was fortunate to gain a place in the second intake of the new Viticultural and Oneology Course - Post Grad Dip Hort Sc 1990.
As the children have gradually moved out of home, and with the uncertainties of meat and wool sector prices, a wonderful opportunity came our way in 2009, when the owners of the Tora Coastal Walk offered us the hosting responsibilities for night two of their very successful three day walk.
It took all of two seconds to jump on board, and a couple of hours to sort out where we were going to sleep 14 people. The logical choice was the Cookhouse on the farm, also our family home, with two living rooms, a large dining table and a kitchen with a decent bench. The place was perfect.
At the end of January 2014 we sadly had to say goodbye to the Tora Walk, but as the saying goes “one door closes and another opens”.During our wonderful five years of involvement with the Tora Walk, I was often asked by guests if I would show them how to prepare and present fresh locally grown food with ease, so the cooking class idea started to form, and so here we are in 2015 fully immersed in this wonderful opportunity to host our very own live-in cooking classes.
We are thrilled and delighted and can’t wait so share our place and our food with you.We look forward to seeing you here soon.
“Tora Station” is a working sheep and beef farm situated on the rugged, beautiful south Wairarapa Coast 45 mins East of Martinborough run by Bob, Alistair and Jenny Boyne.
Bob was fortunate to win the ballot to Lot 2 of the Soldiers Settlement rehab block of Tora Station back in 1951. Although he is no longer riding the horse or quad he does involve himself on fine days in the yards with his son Alistair, and as he can smell baking at 500 metres, you will probably meet him.
Tora Station once covered a land area of 17,245acres, and was a part of the vast Riddiford holdings. These days the Woolshed gets a spruce up for community events, such as the increasingly popular annual 'Tora Cook Off' each July, Christmas Carols in the Woolshed held on the Tuesday just before Christmas Day each year (officiated by Rev. Mary Croft, and attended by over 100 locals and friends).
It's best not to have any set views on being the Farmer's wife. To some it may seem like an idyllic lifestyle and one of whimsical dreams. I've been in this farming game for a while, and in case you're thinking of taking it on, here's a list of some of the skills you'll need, including...
being a good and patient wife, a 'supermum', cook, cleaner, gardener, financial controller, taxi driver, having some basic mechanical knowledge, the ability to change a tyre, to start and operate a bulldozer, be able to back large boat trailers with poor hydraulics through soft sand, and retrieve them in southerly storms, build fences to keep livestock from getting into the home garden, shear sheep (or at the very least, being a wool classer would be most useful), being computer literate, a data entry operator, having knowledge of NAIT, being able to muster, and having basic knowledge in first aid. What else? Good communication skills are a must, along with the ability to write and present submissions on anything from Hill Country erosion control to retaining freedom camping, and oh, if you have one, make sure you pack your crystal ball, if only to forecast the ever-changing wool price and the All Blacks winning score.