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Meet the Team

Kevin Johnston

Vineyard Manager, Fix-it chap, Commander of Home Affairs

After 16 years in the navy Kevin moved into IT working on defence contracts both in NZ and Australia. But these days you will find him happily working in the vineyard, in the tractor, or tinkering away in the workshop always repairing or building from scratch something that will one day be useful.  Kevin is a volunteer fire fighter, plays the occasional round of golf and can be spotted at the local Tavern swapping stories with the locals. 

Phone:    +64 21 272 8887


Tracy Johnston 'Tj'

The List Writer, Chief in Charge of the dosh, The Communicator

After over 20 years working full time in the tourism industry, in 2017 Tracy stepped down from the full-on job of being the GM at Destination Marlborough to work part-time for a consulting company.  But that doesn't mean she is taking it easy, it just makes her week more varied, with a new product venture in the wings, serving on a number of Boards and Committees, growing vegetables for award-winning restaurant Arbour and natives for the wetland, running the business of Dayvinleigh and mentoring for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.  Any spare time is spent coming up with new ideas for the property, and scanning the second-hand shops for her next upcycling project.


Phone:  +64 21 749 368,  Email:


After 10 years on the wish list, adding a donkey to the menagerie finally became a reality mid 2015. Hugo, at 21, lived up the road and needed a new home.  It took a facebook campaign and petition to get Kevin across the line to adopt Hugo, but of course Tracy won and Hugo joined the family.  


Each day he spends time free ranging around the yard. He is very social and pops his head in the kitchen window to get a mint or gingernut, both are at the ready.   His honk is guaranteed to make you laugh, no matter how early in the morning.  This cute ass is popular on social media and has featured in a couple of magazine stories.


Cleo joined the family in 2017 after Tracy had a chance conversation with the hairdresser looking to rehome an exuberant puppy.   Cleo is a bearded collie, labrador cross.  She is a very social and always at the ready to welcome visitors or to go visiting when there is something more exciting happening next door.  Cleo and Pumpkin are best mates. 


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Our little Shadow was one of a litter of pups born May 2018 on a farm up the road.  Mum is a Border Collie, dad is a Bearded Collie/Huntaway.  We just went to look, and half an hour later we were home with this wee girl.


She is always happy to be following along no matter where we are, hence the name. Shadow and Cleo are best mates who love a good tug of war before curling up and sleeping together, usually on our bed.    It is fun having a puppy in the house now that the toilet training bit is over.


Pumpkin is another rescue via the SPCA. She was found as a kitten, abandoned on the Wairau bar along with sister. (yes it is odd to have female ginger cats).  The two girls became favourites with their foster parents Carrie and Justine, so they kept Minky and we adopted Floofwaffle, renaming her Pumpkin on arrrival late in 2017.


She is a very independant wee soul, but on her terms will snuggle up. The dog beds are her favourite place to sleep during the day in between bringing mice and birds in to torment, or defeather and eat.


TC joined the Team in April 2019 after being liberated from the SPCA by Tracy.  His SPCA name 'Nigel Niceguy' was in honour of the vet who pronounced him feral after being found abandoned on the streets of Blenheim.  The SPCA staff decided to give him a shot anyway and we are so pleased they did.  We named him TC - short for Tom Cruise because he is short, rather handsome, demands attention and does all his own stunts. He has also become Top Cat at Dayvinleigh.

'The Girls'

After spending hours picking out the very best nana names for the impending arrival of the chickens they arrived looking disturbingly similar, and while they do have identifiable personality traits they have over time just beocme ‘The Girls’.

The Girls faithfully produce bumnuts every day and are rewarded regularly with great piles of waterweed from the creek. They do love to get out and explore but have no regard for the time and effort we put into the vege garden we have had to go to great lengths to keep them out.  Over time The Girls move on and are replaced with younger versions.


Jess was adopted from the SPCA the day after the move to Marlborough full time in July 2007.


She was 'Daddy’s Little Princess'  because according to Kevin she could do no wrong.  Jess become the matriarch and disciplinarian of the family. She would keep the chickens out of the house and let us know if we had left the garden gate open and Hugo or the chickens had taken advantage of the situation. Jess was always listening out for the mule to start up so she could jump aboard and head off to 'work'.  We said goodbye to Jess in March 2018 and still miss her terribly.

Hershey and Mocha

Hershey and Mocha, the burmese brothers, joined us in about 2007 shortly after we settled at Dayvinleigh.  They had never been outside of their Wellington apartment before moving to the country.  It didn't take them long to learn how to prowl and hunt and over the years have regularly dragged in gifts through the cat door.  Sadly Mocha passed away in 2017.  Hershey developed diabetes (who knew cats could become diabetic), and required twice daily insulin injections.  He was a great friend to Pumpkin until mid 2018 when his health deteriorated and we had to farewell him to cat heaven.

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No place in the country is complete without a variety of furry and fluffy friends.


For Kevin and Tracy, who nicknamed their dream future rural property 'Noah's Ark', it was inevitable that when they got there, they would be surrounded by animals. Let us introduce you to the team...  

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