Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Welcome marching orders from army pair

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British couple build successful Wairarapa walking business from scratch.
Between them, Dick and Carmen Tredwell have served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, the UK, Cyprus and Germany.
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This article is part of Famers Weekly’s annual Land Champions series. Read the full series here.

Dick and Carmen Tredwell, along with children Tyler and Alice, arrived in New Zealand from the UK in July 2004. Two years previously they had purchased a small farm, Prospect, at Whareama, 17km inland from Riversdale on the Wairarapa coast.

They’d had successful careers in the British Army with both retiring as warrant officers. Between them they had served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, the UK, Cyprus and Germany, where they met. 

Dick was originally from a farm in England and wanted to try his hand in NZ.

They had seen Prospect advertised while they were serving in Cyprus and fell in love with it. Dick’s sister, Angie, was farming with husband Glen in Riversdale and they had a fair knowledge of the local area and the locals.

From their arrival the Tredwells made a massive contribution to the local community. They have been secretary treasurer of the Mighty East Coast Rugby Club, where Dick is currently vice-president. They are also secretary treasurer of the Tinui ANZAC Trust, secretary treasurer of the Castlepoint Golf Club and treasurer of the Tinui Anglican parish.

Dick has also recently become a justice of the peace.

Dick originally had a job at the Taratahi agricultural training establishment, but after completing the Tora Walk in South Wairarapa they saw the opportunity for a walk at Whareama. In 2011 that became a reality.

They had consulted with local farmers, who they offered to pay for walking access. The farmers were happy to grant access and still are.

Walkers spend the night at the iconic Ica homestead before completing a 14km trail.

The walking business took off and in 2014 they sold Prospect and purchased the iconic Ica homestead. The original house was built in 1866. It was burnt down in 1895 and rebuilt in 1901. It is spectacular, having been faithfully restored to its original character.

As well as providing a base for walkers, Ica is a superb venue for functions including weddings.

When the walkers arrive they spend the night at Ica before completing a 14km walk. That night they stay at Wai Ngaio Retreat, a lodge sleeping 20 on Castlepoint Station. They return to Ica the following day completing a further 10km. Many stay a third night walking the Tinui ANZAC walk and dining at the Tinui café and bar.

The walk provides spectacular views of coastal Wairarapa hill country and the rarely visited Otahome coast.

The food is described as “local, hearty and fresh” with generally a barbeque on the first night so the walkers can get to know each other.

They limit numbers to 200 over the season so it isn’t crowded. The oldest walker so far has been 83 and the youngest just six.

It is a highly successful business that the Tredwells started from nothing. It brings people into the Wairarapa, gives local farmers extra income, shows the local sights to walkers from around the country and highlights the food and wine Wairarapa produces.

The initiative is a win-win for the local area. People come from around the country and see, firsthand, the spectacular local scenery and the other delights coastal Wairarapa has to offer. The community has also benefitted from the commitment the Tredwells have willingly given.