Meet the Todhunters
Lake Heron Station is owned and operated by the Todhunter Family – and has been for 102 years. Philip and Anne Todhunter continue a long history of welcoming guests to the station and sharing their magnificent property. They provide luxury and comfort in their historic station cottages and a wide variety of activities suitable for everyone.
"High country hospitality has always been a way of life at Lake Heron and this is a tradition that we hold dear.
"Before taking over the property in 1998, we came from diverse backgrounds. Philip spent many years flying as a commercial backcountry pilot, whilst Anne initially trained as a lawyer and later as a Mountain and Ski Guide. The wonderful aspect of life at Lake Heron is that we can share our passions for the outdoors and our special environment."
"Philip combines organising the farming programme with flying our Cessna 185 - offering scenic flights to guests. From July to early October, Philip also adds flying a Squirrel helicopter into the programme. We are partners in Methven Heliski, a premium heliski business, which has been providing skiers with some of New Zealand’s finest heliskiing for 33 years. Philip, the lead pilot, is one of the longest-serving and most experienced heliski pilots in New Zealand. Many of the heliski runs are on the upper glaciated regions of Lake Heron Station and Philip’s intimate knowledge of the area is one of the ingredients that make this such a successful business."
"We hope to meet you soon."
- Anne and Philip
Lake Heron Station History
Lake Heron has been in the Todhunter family for 102 years: 1917-2019.
The original Lake Heron run was first taken up in 1857 by Messrs Leach and Dudley. Until 1917 there were various changes in name, ownership and in boundaries. The Lake Heron Station boundaries of today are made up of an amalgamation of earlier runs, one of which was owned briefly by the well-known author Samuel Butler. In 1917 the station was purchased by RC Todhunter (Philip’s great grandfather) and since then has been in the Todhunter family for four generations. In 2005 a further 1100ha was purchased out of neighbouring Clent Hills Station.
Five original station huts still remain on the property. These shelters were originally built to facilitate mustering (gathering up) of sheep. The names of musterers from the past can be seen etched on the hut walls. Today the huts remain as an important reminder of the station’s history. The New Hut was built in 1923 and is still the base for the 4-day autumn muster.
This muster involves a team of 6 men and 18 dogs, to bring 2,500 sheep down to lower country before the winter snows arrive. The New Hut and The Downs Hut have both been recently restored for guests to enjoy.
Originally the prime farming focus was on merino wool production. A flock of 2500 wethers was established to graze on the steeper hill country. This flock was only brought down to the homestead area twice a year – for crutching in the autumn and the main shearing in spring. A flock of breeding ewes was kept closer to home. Lambs were bred to maintain the wether and ewe flocks. Today growing wool is still a major focus of the farming operation, with a large portion of the wool clip processed into active outdoor and leisurewear. Angus cattle and lamb production are now also important aspects of the business.