Tim Aitkin and Lucy Robertshawe’s commitment to the environment is clearly evident on their 317ha property situated in the heart of Central Hawke’s Bay. Their Steyning property grazes deer and bulls beneath 4,225 native trees. As well as 7ha of native bush that is fenced off and protected under a covenant with the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
Tim has been involved in the deer industry for many years and his input into the industry doesn’t stop at the farm gate. He has served on the Executive Committee of the NZ Deer Farmers’ Association for four years, with portfolios including managing the industry’s environmental awards, finances, and is also a past chairman of the On Farm Quality Assurance programme as part of the Deer Farmers’ Association. Currently a Director of First Light, his passion for deer and venison continues.
Tim and Lucy’s involvement with First Light began after a conversation with Gerard Hickey in Taupo at a New Zealand Deer Industry Conference. Seeking to move away from the commodity market they felt the future lay in supplying chilled product year-round — something First Light could offer. Being part of First Light enables Tim and Lucy to produce animals at the optimal time for supply with the added bonus of being able to have more involvement in the market. “We didn’t just want to put our animals on the truck and wave them goodbye, we now feel we are part of the food industry and proud of what we offer. Knowing that the First Light’s supply chain follows up on our farm standards all the way to the customer is fantastic,” says Tim.
At The Steyning the favourite venison dish is a whole fillet, with a bit of salt and pepper, cooked on the BBQ — easy!