HOME TO BEN, MARY AND STEVE SATTERTHWAITE
Life at a merino station
"It’s definitely not boring. No days are ever the same. Mostly life on the farm is very seasonal, at the moment we are in the shearing phase and have shorn our ewes. In a week’s time we will be going out into the high country for a week and mustering the sheep in.
Personally, I do not find it isolating. I think we are privileged to be able to live in this environment. It is hard at times. It’s challenging.
You know, four years ago with the earthquakes in Christchurch we began to realise how resilient we actually are to anything that is thrown at us. We could easily manage in here for three months without any stores coming in or any contact with the outside world."
The relationship with Jeremy Moon
"We’ve been very lucky to have a personal relationship with Jeremy Moon right back from the start. He regularly comes and visits our station and we have hosted numerous teams of icebreaker people from Europe, America and Asia. Yeah, we have a great relationship. Jeremy has been here with his girls and he knows our children and yeah, it’s just a nice, easy relationship.
It’s always with a lot of fun and huge amount of enthusiasm. It’s really satisfying for us to see from our point of view that when they come, technically people know the story, know the product, know something about the pipeline of the manufacturing. Then they see a sheep, touch a sheep, and see the wool on its back that now is on their back and then suddenly it’s like the lightbulb gets switched on. It’s a realisation that what they are wearing comes from a sheep’s back."
"We know three years or five years in advance what our wool cheque will be, and it is something you can take to the bank. It’s a high percentage of our income."
The importance of icebreaker’s long term approach
"We know three years or five years in advance what our wool cheque will be, and it is something you can take to the bank. It’s a high percentage of our income anyway. We produce fibre for icebreaker which is 70% of our annual income. It gives us the bankability for buying other properties, borrowing money or doing development. That’s something very unique for the market."
Why it works
"It’s the satisfaction of producing something we are proud of that we see people wearing. We go into an icebreaker shop and talk to the retailers, talk to the sales people and they are buzzing about what they are doing. And it is seeing the sustainability of what we are doing, seeing the environment support what we are aspiring to do."
"I think we are very lucky that we’ve got another generation. At this stage, it’s early, but they are very passionate about what we’ve been doing and the environment and the operation. I think the kids are a bit like me and see it as the only way to farm."