The Murray’s vast property is long and narrow and stretches from the coast at Kekerengu inland into the Clarence Valley and right up to the base of Mt Tapuae-O-Ueneku.
While this unique property has it challenges, it’s lends itself to a diverse production system which Hamish and Jess Murray have embraced.
“With my parents Richard and Sue, we run Bluff Station — a high-country sheep and beef property. There are 5500 merino ewes, 950 Angus and Hereford breeding cows and 750 beehives. We enjoy the diversity of the production system and the yearly calendar of events. There’s always something new to look forward to as we switch from cattle to sheep then back again — rolling through mating, shearing, set stocking, marking, and then through into weaning. We also enjoy what the honey production cycle brings as well,” says Hamish.
The Murray’s focus is on producing 35,000-40,000kgs of merino for Icebreaker. Hamish and Jess have been contracted to this sustainable clothing brand for 25 years and are now in a further 10-year contract. Ensuring traceability within the supply chain is a leading objective for Hamish —and an element that consumers increasingly demand.
This is where Hamish sees the rural sector’s future heading: “There’s a growing awareness around types of production and the environment. Our natural high-country system with low stocking rates and its biodiversity is a great story to share,” says Hamish.
The Murrays joined FMG around five years ago wanting to be with a New Zealand owned company and a mutual. Hamish says they value advice given by FMG.
“Insurance is a risk management tool and FMG advise and help us make decisions on what is acceptable risk for our business to bear against those events or unexpected costs that if uninsured, would create a burden on us,” says Hamish.
It was fortunate that the Murrays came to FMG the year before the Kaikoura earthquake.
“We were significantly affected by the earthquake. Over the past 3.5 years we’ve have rebuilt and repaired six houses on the farm and have had to repair countless other infrastructure. It has been a challenge, however working with FMG’s assessor’s over that time has smoothed the process. They took the time to understand our business, the intention we had when undertaking our insurance, and how claims would fit under certain policies.
“We’re very happy and proud of our relationship with FMG,” says Hamish.