Chance encounter behind farm forestry exemplar

Wednesday 22 Nov 2017

The 2017 Husqvarna South Island Farm Foresters of the Year, Mark and Marjorie Hay, recently hosted a field day on their Tuapeka West farm tomorrow afternoon. To coincide with this, the Otago Daily Timber reports on their impressive operation.

As Marjorie Hay surveys the extensive plantings on Glenayr Farm, she says the vision is for the future more than the present.

After years of hard work on the South Otago property she farms with husband Mark, her enthusiasm is undiminished.

'It's so exciting to think you've left that mark on the landscape,' she says with her infectious energy.

The hills of Glenayr, at Tuapeka West, could not be much further removed from the bustle of Boston, where she used to live. But she has embraced the rural lifestyle and put her design skills to spectacular use, both in her garden and on the farm.

Just how a South Otago sheep and beef farmer met an American-born designer sounds a bit like something out of a romance novel.

Mrs Hay had come to New Zealand to be a guest lecturer in the design department at the University of Canterbury.

The pair sat beside each other at Wellington Airport, where Mr Hay was nursing a broken leg. His future bride - 'being a chatty American' - asked him about being a sheep farmer.

She visited the farm after she finished her teaching stint and never thought she would see him again. But the pair started corresponding and he came to visit her in Boston, where she was teaching part-time and had her own design business.

She returned to New Zealand the following year to do a longer stint at university, stayed with Mr Hay and the pair got engaged.

Describing herself as 'definitely a city girl', she said moving to Otago was a massive change but one she adapted to.

This year, the couple were named the Husqvarna South Island Farm Foresters of the Year, appropriately receiving a chainsaw for their efforts.

Last week they hosted a South Otago Farm Forestry field day on their property.

South Otago Farm Forestry Association chairman David Vollweiler said their property was an 'outstanding example' of the benefits of forestry and amenity planting.

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Source: Otago Daily Times

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