a disconnection of town people with the country
Taranaki/Manawatu Farming Lifestyles August 2012
the farm stay to a cottage on that property. The cottage, named Hodd Cottage after the original owner, was painted, a shower installed, and a deck added to the northern side. It was then completely furnished and the kitchen equipped in readiness to rent out for self-contained holidays. Neil and Virginia set up their website www.mthuia.co.nz and a brochure/rack card was produced for distribution in local tourism organisations as well as information centres in neighbouring regions. Views of Rangitikei farmland and the Ruahine Ranges during a farm walk on Neil and Virginia’s property “We had been foundation members of Rangitikei Tourism since its inception in 1988 and also Reserve.” became members of Destination Manawatu — both regional Hodd Cottage is also conveniently tourism promotion organisations through which we could located for access to day walks in the promote our own business,” said Virginia. Ruahine Ranges. The pair further extended their farm stay operation with “Full or partial catering is offered the introduction of Weka Walks in 2002. and when I am walking across the road Virginia said boutique walking had become popular, with hot dinners on platters and ready particularly for adult groups who wanted a relaxed break, to eat, I think what a great way to have comfortable accommodation, some exercise and social time a holiday it is.” together in a new environment. Neil and Virginia also offer guests Sometimes these groups are too large to be accommodated involvement with farm activities. in Hodd Cottage and two guest rooms with ensuite set up in “Families staying in Hodd Cottage for the homestead are a popular addition. a farm holiday take great pleasure in “The walks are marked and instruction sheets and maps joining in with Neil all day and every day given to guests for self-guided outings on Mt Huia Farm, and if they can,” said Virginia. across neighbouring Glen Tui Farm and through the Titirangi The Gorges to Sea Cycleway set up by Rangitikei Tourism in 2009, and the recent trail opened as part of the New Zealand Cycleway, both go directly past Hodd Cottage, proving its location near SH1 at Mangaweka to be an ideal stay when following these cycle routes. Neil and Virginia are now running 2800 Romney sheep and 1200 Angus cattle on 324ha of hill country farm at Mangaweka and a 61ha finishing block at Halcombe. They balance the busier seasons with the farm stay through hiring casual staff for seasonal work on the properties. The couple work hard to ensure that through opening up their farm, guests have a quality and enjoyable experience with friendly kiwi hospitality. In return they have been rewarded by meeting people with a genuine interest in rural life and the environment, and seeing many of their guests return for further stays. Through opening a farm stay on their Mangaweka farm, Neil and Virginia have given families an opportunity to holiday in the country
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Taranaki/Manawatu Farming Lifestyles, August 2012