The Throne station in Marlborough overlooks the Waihopai spy base and a sea of vineyards and is named after a rocky hilltop which loosely resembles a coronation chair.
David Dillon took over the sheep and beef farm from his father nearly 40 years ago and now his son Tommy is following in his farming footsteps, with a twist though as he's installed a professional motocross track on the farm too.
"I think it’s in his blood this type of existence and we are in agreement as to how we are going to go to the future in terms of utilising this land. We don’t want to lose the land as this is where we like to live; we just want to be able to survive economically."
The station has only ever been farmed by the Dillon family. It was originally part of the larger Leefield Station, also owned by the Dillon's, but over time three of the four sections of that hilly, dryland property have been sold off, leaving only the Thone section left in the Dillon name.
The Throne has about 7000 Corriedales and runs Charolais bulls with a commercial herd of Angus cattle, but with regular droughts and fluxuating wool and meat prices, David's invested in a water scheme to support his focus on developing alternative on-farm income streams that include grapevines and woodlots. He's also thinking about building a dam to store rainwater.
"We could gravity feed a good third of the farm from it and that would mean we wouldn’t have to pump as much from the Waihopai River”.