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Gray's Hills Station - MacKenzie, New Zealand

The Urquhart Motto: “Mean Well, Speak Well, Do Well”

(trans. from the Scottish: Meane Weil, Speak Weil and Doe Weil)

LogoGrays Hills Station is located right in the heart of the Mackenzie Basin, 350-960 metres above sea level. It is a vast and spacious land known as ‘big sky’ country, with open sweeping views across the tussock, matted Mackenzie to the snow capped Southern Alps in the west.

The name ‘Grays Hills’ combines the name of the first station manager, William A Gray, with the dominant characteristic of the station’s land: hills that descend from a peak of 942 metres, cascading into an array of slopes and gullies.

The station was established in 1858 and has been owned and managed by the Urquhart family for the past 60 years (link to Urquhart Family History page). The current owner, Mark Urquhart, is a high country farmer through and through. Many station owners today chose to put farm managers in place. But for Mark Urquhart and his wife, Sherie, living and working on Grays Hills Station is a total way of life, one they enjoy and feel passionate about.

“You live the job” says Mark, “it’s not simply a job, it’s a passion, hobby, pastime and holiday.”

The station has 16000 Poll Merino sheep and 380 Aberdeen Angus cattle. Grays Hills Poll Merino Stud has earned a national and international reputation for producing prize-winning Poll Merino Sheep and world class Poll Merino wool. (link to Poll Merino Stud page)

The Urquhart Clan motto: Mean Well, Do Well, Speak Well is the essence of the Urquhart family philosophy both in terms of stewardship of the land and the relation to others in the community. The motto itself is a way of life.
Mark Urquhart believes that ownership of land does not give people a free rein to do what they like. He sees his role as a custodian and his aim is to manage the station to the best of his ability so that it is passed onto the next generation in better shape, not worse. (link to farming page)

Grays Hills Station received a Conservation Award from Environment Canterbury (year, correct title of award) for swamp management and protection. Ninety-seven hectares of land have been fenced and left untouched. Protecting this unique swamp environment has enabled populations of waterfowl, water plant life, native frogs and many other insects, to survive and flourish.

Mark Urquhart is working for the long term not the short term. Mark and his wife, Sherie, are both actively involved in the local community, having had stints on the Local School Committee and Dog Trial Committee.

Grays Hills Station boasts one of the best fishing creeks in the Mackenzie. Grays Hills Creek is known for its big fish and fishermen come from all over the world for the sporting challenge of catching some of the largest rainbow and brown trout in the Mackenzie. Fishing in the creek is catch and release.(link to fishing page).

Accommodation is available on the station. Grays Hills is a central Mackenzie Country location and is a perfect base for those wishing to fish, tour the Southern lakes, cross country cycling

STUD DETAILS

Stud Principals: Sherie & Mark Urquhart
Gray’s Hills Station, New Zealand

Established: 1962 from Flock 116 (est 1938)
Stud Classer: A D Paterson
Ewe Numbers: 550 MA ewes, 100 2ths
Sale Method: Private. End Feb/Mar

PROPERTY DETAILS

Area: 22,000 hectares 
Rainfall: 400mm<
Stock Numbers: 6,200 ewes, 4,500 MA wethers, 1,000 wether hoggets, 2,000 ewe hoggets, 300 Angus cows, 50 replacement heifers

OVERVIEW

Runs 5500 commercial ewes under dryland conditions. 1200 are mated to terminal sires (Suffolk & Border Leicester). 3000 replacement hoggets and 4500 MA wethers are run on areas less suitable for lambing. Lucerne hay and grain are fed for long cold winters.

   
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