Grassendale Station

Achieving the right work-life balance is the secret of success



George and Luce Williams and their young family Sofia (six), Max (eight) and Harvey (five), enjoy the good life on their farm, 65kms from Masterton in Wairarapa. Masterton.

Grassendale Station, where the Williams have farmed since 2005, comprises 1580 hectares and is a sheep and beef farm with 2000-recorded Romney and Coopworth ewes. As a Coopworth stud they have 50 clients buying rams annually. In addition to this, they run 230 Angus Simmental-Cross cattle.

“It’s the passion for farming that keeps you on the land, through the good and the bad. As farmers, that’s what we do,” says George, who got off to a good start working while still a teenager, shepherding and mustering throughout New Zealand. After seven years working and travelling overseas he returned and having met and married Luce, the couple began the road into farm ownership.

Luce, is a self-employed veterinary physiotherapist and does all the farm accounts and administration and stud stock administration too. But life is not solely about work. George says it’s important to strike a balance by spending time with their children. One of the family’s favourite pursuits is to head into the native bush on their property with either their horses or bikes.

“Sharing special moments with your kids through that golden age while they are still young, is truly essential. It’s all too easy to get consumed within the farm gate. Allowing ourselves that family time is really important to us,” says George. The family also likes to go to one of their closest beaches, usually Castlepoint, to give their ponies a workout. In winter they enjoy skiing.

The Williams enjoy being part of their close-knit community. At 10 kilometres away, Tinui is the closest village and their children go to Tinui School. “These country schools are a vital part of the rural community and fundraising and other social activities keep the community spirit really strong. We have a very strong East Coast rugby club; the under eights won the championship in the Wairarapa division this year.”

Alistair McLennan at Moore Stephens Markhams in Masterton, is more than just an accountant, according to George. “As part of our management strategy team since 2009, he’s been the person I’ve phoned, either in the evening or early in the morning. He’s always up for a conversation, whether it’s farming related or to do with farm ownership. Living in a rural area he’s aware of farm practices and he has a very good understanding of how farming communities operate.

“It’s the passion for farming that keeps you on the land, through the good and the bad. As farmers, that’s what we do,” says George, who got off to a good start working while still a teenager, shepherding and mustering throughout New Zealand.

“Moore Stephens Markhams has been very involved in what we do. They were very supportive when we were finding our way around CashManager. In those first few years of us doing our GST returns they were most helpful and more so, supporting us until we had an understanding of the financial aspects of farm ownership.”

Modern technology has also made this area easier to grasp, says George. “It’s so much more transparent and there’s no delay in communications. With budgeting, all we need to do is have a remote log-in and it is there in front of us.”

Luce adds, “All the team at Markhams has been vital in helping us with this huge learning curve.”

Published Summer 2015




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