What a treat for the blokes during our weekend camping at Lutz Farm. Farmer Carl Lutz (Dad to Max and Erwin)has a real passion for tractors and invited us to view his collection. He related the story of when he was a young man, working on his father’s farm, and he saved up hard till he had accumulated 50 pounds to buy his first car. But the car purchase never happened, and he came home with his first tractor, the start of a love affair with Fordson tractors, which is still going on to this day.
There were tractors galore inside the purpose built shed, but first we admired his shiny 1946 V8 Pick Up truck. These were manufactured between 1942-46 and were known as the “Jail Bar Model” because of their distinctive bar grill.
Carl’s V8 Pick Up truck
Then we were taken around the shed, admiring one tractor after another, all lovingly restored. And not just any old tractor, it’s Fordson tractors all the way, as far as Carl Lutz is concerned. He told us the history of each and every one, him memory never faltering as he rattled off facts and figures, and pointed out special items of interest on his much loved collection.
Part of the tractor collection
Tractor and Hay Baler
The Fordson F tractor was originally designed for agriculture use. But with a belt pulley and various wheel options found it’s way into many other uses, such as a bush tractor on railway wheels as displayed here in the shed.
Fordson F used as a bush tractor
We all gathered around an old workhorse, with it's sturdy steel wheels, now at the end of it’s working life safe and sound in the shed. And it was interesting to see a photo on the wall from many years ago of Carl hard at work on his farm plowing furrows with this tractor.
A real vintage workhorse
Next we walked up the hill to see a few more models. Carl Lutz may well be a 90 years old but he is still as sprightly as ever and energetically cranked the engine and then hopped on board and took this old beauty for a quick spin to show off it’s paces.
Carl on one of his many tractors
The adjacent paddock was chock full of old tractors. All ready to be restored? we asked. Oh no, was the reply, that's his spare parts division. Tractors are a real passion and Carl Lutz established the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club some years ago. His Ford tractor museum attracts visitors from far and wide. Groups like us, and plenty of visitors from overseas who put the museum on their "must see" list.
Spare parts for future restorations
Carl Lutz moved to Otaki in 1935 when his parents bought a 150 acre town supply dairy farm with 30 cows in the Rahui valley. After a year at Horowhenua College, he left school to work on the farm. He developed an intensive town milk farm, despite there being no electricity until 1945. Carl expanded the farm by purchasing five neighbouring properties, increasing it to the 485 hectares farmed today. Now aged 90, Carl Lutz still actively farms with his two sons and grandson on a farm recognised by Fonterra for its excellence in milk quality, one of only five farms in New Zealand to achieve the standard.
This hard working farmer was honoured with a Queen’s Service Medal in 2009 for services to a number of organisations, and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary. In 1999 Mr Lutz became a founding member of Friends of the Otaki River, and the group has planted 30,000 trees along the river, including totara, kahikatea, toetoe, cabbage trees and flaxes, and created a four kilometre walkway from State Highway 1 to the sea. "Retirement's not on my agenda," says Lutz who donated 12 hectares and helped develop stopbanks to prevent flooding on the Otaki River which borders his farm. Carl and his family have a love of the environment and are doing their darndest to protect this beautiful area.
It was a privilege to spend the weekend on their farm, and meet these inspiring, hardworking farmers.