Native falcons and wood pigeons live undisturbed among more than 60,000 trees and freshwater crayfish introduced to contained waterways on Blair and Jane Smith's North Otago farms.
The extensive tree-planting and sustainable practices reflect the Smiths' attitude - look after nature and it will look after them.
This environmental stewardship saw them awarded the prestigious Gordon Stephenson Trophy after they were named national winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards last month.
The Smiths run Newhaven Farms - a North Otago sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties totalling 1528ha.
They are now ambassadors for New Zealand agriculture, nationally and internationally, and New Zealand Farming Environment Trust chairman Jim Cotman has absolute faith in them.
"They are successful business people and strong communicators who will be able to effectively convey their sustainable farming beliefs and actions to a wide audience within New Zealand and beyond," says Mr Cotman.
The Smiths were chosen from an "outstanding group" of nine regional winners who had shown they had what it took to be profitable and sustainable guardians of the country's natural resources, he says.
Judges were impressed by their enthusiasm and passion to make full use of technology, and their commitment to industry and community organisations.
The Smiths farm 9000 stock units on three farms, including 230ha Newhaven at Five Forks. This farm is home to the Newhaven Perendale Stud started by Jane's parents, David and Robyn Ruddenklau, in 1972.
Newhaven Farms also farm 200ha at Danseys Pass and 1100ha at Blairgowrie Run, near Five Forks.
As ambassadors for the agriculture industry, Mrs Smith says they are looking forward to interacting with industry leaders and politicians.
"We do that not so much for our benefit, we're looking at what we can do for the industry," she says.
"We're looking forward to talking to other people and hearing their experiences, and discussing ways we can see New Zealand agriculture grow and prosper."
The win is still sinking in but the Smiths know a busy year is ahead, especially with the added pressure of three children aged under 6.
"We're excited about it, but it's a nervous excitement. It's quite a responsibility," Mr Smith says. "At the end of the day, we've got three young children so they come first - family, the farm and the community comes first."
The Smiths, who are still in the early stages of their farming career, did not at first consider entering the awards as they were unaware that their farming practices were any different to the rest of the country's.
"We had a couple of people suggest that we should look at entering, but at the time we said, 'Oh, we're busy enough doing other things.' But then we thought, 'If you don't make the effort you'll always be busy doing something,"' Mr Smith says. The Smiths see the word "environment" not just in terms of conservation but as involving the community, family and a long-term view of farming and the industry. "In terms of sustainability, I feel that's what the vast majority of farmers are doing because you really are guardians of the land," Mrs Smith says.
"We take at least a 100-year viewing - looking at the things that you do and thinking in 100 years' time will this still be a good practice."
They are second-generation farmers and the family connection to the farm remains strong. "My parents live up on the hill block up the road, and my sisters are involved in the farm as well even though they don't live here. Everyone takes a part," Mrs Smith says.
The family support network impressed the judges, who said such a team approach should ensure continued success.
The Smiths' sheep operation includes commercial and stud sheep. The judges said sheep production levels were impressive.
Newhaven is a leading perendale stud, and rams from the stud sire more than 300,000 lambs in New Zealand each year. A perendale-texel stud was also formed in 2009.
The cattle enterprise is based on 370 Angus cows. For the Smiths, farming more than 9000 stock units on three farms is a big job but it is one they enjoy, and after three days in Wellington for the awards they are itching to get home.
"A lot of people say farming is a lifestyle, but it's a full-on lifestyle - it's 24/7, but the way that we are farming is rewarding," Mr Smith says.