The farm wasn’t perfect. It backed on to cliffs overlooking the Tasman Sea and was also cut by a gully.
Ian Nicholls remembers the terrain well and how his great-uncle had a fishing shed on the cliff on the back of the farm.
“He built this shed so he could so be out of the weather and stay the night if the fishing was good.”
Claude perfected the No. 8 wire method of fishing. This involved anchoring a coil of wire to a suitable rock just out beyond the spring low-tide mark and attaching the other end to a post on the cliff.
“On this wire was run a trolley which carried the fishing line down to the sea. The line was wound around a wheel rim which could be wound up and down. Uncle Claude had his line and rim in the shed. He also had a long-drop in his shed,” Ian says.
In 1996, the advisory trustees sold the farm to the Putt family and bought a neighbouring 86-hectare farm on Taikatu Rd.
“I always wanted to get off the cliff because of the drought conditions and to get more land,” Donald says.
To understand the buying and selling of the two properties, we need to convert back to acres for a moment. The 164-acre (66-hectare) South Rd farm sold just above government valuation (GV) for $8000 and acre, so went for about $1.3 million.
The 213-acre (86ha) Taikatu Rd farm was bought by the trust at the just-above GV price of $10,000 an acre, for a little over $2.1 million.
It continues to bring in money for the Royce Nicholls Trust, providing the means to help generation after generation of young New Zealanders follow their agriculture or veterinary dreams.
Claude, Eleanor and Royce Nicholls are all buried in the Otakeho cemetery.