You TubeFacebookTwitterflickrGoogle plus
Friday, 26 April 2019 05:44 am

After 13 generations, Rick adds to family legacy

May 18th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

RickslideshowMAINTHE JAGUAR emblem attached to the front of Rick Swan’s 1969 Massey Ferguson tractor typifies the quirky, do-it-yourself nature of the Kapiti man’s lifestyle.

Mr Swan owns three businesses but the farm, which is the base for his sustainable lifestyle, is the most precious to him.

Mr Swan’s three businesses involve private tuition which he runs from home, operating his large farm and forestry block, and a property rental business. A tradition in Mr Swan’s Dutch family is always “passing forward” land and wealth, a practice dating back 13 generations, he says.

Mr Swan inherited his two farm blocks in the Reikorangi Valley, which comprise nearly 66 hectares, and he hopes his children Sophie and Peter will continue the family farming tradition.

About 30% of Swan’s farm is predominantly native trees and waterways, which can’t be removed or farmed as it is an ecological zone, he says.

Developing the forest and farm with plantation trees, as well as tracks and culverts, over the past 15 years has been the biggest and most expensive project of his life, Mr Swan says.

“I would imagine that the actual numbers of self-sown native plants of all species of all sizes must be in the hundreds of thousands.”

Mr Swan believes in “waste not, want not” and uses wood from his forestry as a sustainable energy source to heat the four wood burners in his home.

Another sustainable idea Mr Swan invented is his own water treatment plant. “When we first bought the home block, water came off the roof into a 20,000-litre concrete tank. When I cleaned the line, I found that the only filtration was by a metal sieve, and there was a decomposing weta in that sieve.”

With his new system, roof water now goes into debris traps, the bigger one of the two being a first flush system, he says. It was a long process to get the water drinkable, but Mr Swan has gradually improved it and says the tank cleans itself to a point now.

Another of Mr Swan’s innovative ideas was to buy a special six-speed cargo bike because his car broke down and it helped the environment, as well as saving a dollar.

However, using it to bike 5km into Waikanae to collect food scraps for his farm animals from Subway, and taking his green waste to the landfill, proved a little more challenging that he originally thought.

So he has reverted to using a vehicle. Another vehicle Mr Swan uses to help run his farm and get him up to his forest to move heavy wood piles is his 1969 Massey Ferguson tractor.

Rick Swan’s passion is evident in his sustainable surroundings, and he says he hopes to be around long enough to enjoy the seeds he has sown.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

is a Whitireia journalism student.
Email this author | All posts by

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Radio News