Lyndon and Millie Matthews, Puketira


Location: A fourth generation farmer, Lyndon Matthews, along with his wife Millie, own and operate their Ranch Puketira Deer, which loosely translated from the native Maori means “hill with outstanding view”.   Located in the South Island, in the North Canterbury region one hour north of Christchurch, Lyndon runs 800 deer and 1500 sheep on 270 hectares of dry rolling hill country near the foothills of the Southern Alps. 

About the Ranch: While he helped his dad with their farm while growing up, Lyndon’s first career was as a rural bank manager.  “I always liked deer, so I persuaded my parents, who had only raised sheep, to buy 30 deer back in 1990 when I was still a banker,” Lyndon mused.  “But I have always had a love of the land that I was brought up on and the desire to return there always featured in my goals.  So, my wife and I returned to the family ranch in 1995.  The combination of farming deer and being in my beloved hills is living the dream every day.”

Lyndon’s land – a limestone composition with a dry climate combined with a location that offers no practical irrigation possibilities – has proved a challenge to run an all natural, sustainable operation that produces the highest quality animals fed on a nutritious pasture mix.  His innovative pasture management and efforts to best utilize rainfall recently won Lyndon and Millie the 2008 New Zealand Deer Industry award for farming excellence in a demanding environment; these annual awards celebrate role models who show how an environmentally sensitive approach can be part of a profitable farm business and can inspire and motivate others by example.

The rewards of deer farming: Lyndon has been raising deer to the high standards of the Cervena appellation since 1995. “We are proud to be raising such a high quality product using sustainable herding practices.  Our philosophy is simple – allow the animals to be raised naturally in an open pasture environment while feeding them very well.  Well fed deer are happy and healthy.  They grow quickly, with no stress.  And that produces a tender, quality product.”