“Every day is an adventure,” Kate Cocks says, of life on Mt Nicholas, the 100,000 acre merino sheep station she runs with her husband, Jack, at the foot of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
As well as managing the station’s 30,000 merino sheep (Icebreaker’s key suppliers of merino wool), Kate and Jack are busy raising the station’s youngest farmhands, Jess (2 years) and Tom (5 months).
“Bringing up kids on Mt Nic is fantastic,” Kate says. And she’d know. She and her brother grew up on the station, homeschooled by their mother until leaving for boarding school. After continuing on to Lincoln University, Kate lived the corporate life for twelve years, before deciding to return to the land.
A thirty-minute boat ride away from the nearest town, life on Mt Nicholas has its challenges. “It’d be so cool just to ring up Little India and order takeaways,” Kate says. But living on a property that’s practically self-sufficient – electricity is self-generated, fruit and veges are home grown – there’s little to pine for.
Kate only needs to step out her back door to indulge in her passion for mountain running, and she, Jack and the kids love jumping in the truck and going exploring. Jess and Tom thrive on farm life, enjoying the company of more animals than most kids dream of. As well as the 30,000 sheep, there are cattle, horses, dogs, pigs, hens, goat, deer and plenty of native birds, including tui and bellbirds.
“I love the wide open spaces and being outdoors all the time,” Kate says. “It’s a great place to work and play, and have your family all around you.”