Waikoura Springs

Freshwater Crayfish 

and Poultry Farm


Contact: Vince Scully and Mary Shanahan

Phone: +64 3 319 5953 or 021 375 268 (Vince) or 021 776 110 (Mary)

Address: 90 Mill Road, Kaikoura 7300

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]



          over $600,000 BY 5PM 

       30th June

Deposit and      delayed settlement considered.

Ph. 03 319 5953



90 Mill Road Kaikoura 7300

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Waikoura Springs Limited.

90 Mill Road, Kaikoura, 1.385 ha. Deposited plan 11440

Identifier: MB6B/440., Land registration district, Marlborough

Fish license for sell koura ( fresh water crayfish), whitebait, grey mullet and watercress

Consents to take and discharge water; and build weirs to divert creek water

Consent for 300 laying hens

Four buildings on property

1/. Versatile garage 72 sq m. One bedroom, toilet, bath, log burner, kitchen

2/. Two story garage 108 sq m. Bedroom, workshop, studio, shower/toilet, single garage, farm display, hatchery

3/. Garden shed 9 sq m

4/. Historical woolshed 40 sq m

Income streams.

1/. Koura

2/. Farm tours

3/. Visitor accommodation

4/. Poultry

Each activity has the potential to grow the business.

Property has all day sun and unrestricted mountain views. Adequate visitor car park. Established native plantings, raised gardens beds, grapes and well pollinated fruit trees. (We live near a honey factory.)


Three points.

1/. Ten years ago, our Australian crayfish farm consultant, Carey Nagle, said that land based aquaculture in NZ was 30 years behind the times. Now it is probably 40 years. Without a capital gains tax on selling properties, I cannot see an incentive to invest in growing healthy, valuable seafood, in land based ponds. Ironic really, with the Green Party in parliament, and this being an environmental activity that uses minimal resources! Presumably there will change. However buying from an established grower, potentially offers competitive advantage over other emerging growers, whom will have higher start-up costs!

2/. We have spent 15 years developing and learning how to grow koura. The author of both our preferred reference books: The Australian Fish FarmerandThe Yabby Farmer, introduces himself as having learnt his skills by killing fish many different ways. This is not something that you would put on your cv for the oil and gas industry. However it is a new industry requiring learnings, not only from theory, but from practical experience. Considering Fonterra only took 150 years to evolve, this is normal. Hence we will be passing on all our experiences on how not to kill fish.

3/. To be commercially successful in farming anything, you need an annual guaranteed supply of seed stock. This could be either, if the industry was developed (which it isn’t) supplied; or alternatively, you have to be competent at rearing seed stock yourself – and through both the hatchery and the nursery process.

We have, through our learnings and setbacks, achieved this. We have 15,000 juvenile koura in a nursery pond.

We have the ultimate ability to produce from the hatchery: 100,000 hatchings. Stock 50,000 juvenile koura in one nursery pond. And in two 0.1ha grow out ponds, each hold 10,000 adult koura. And room on the property to develop two more ponds of this size. Therefore our potential harvest in our present area of grow out water, is 1,000 kg. In full development, this would be 2,000 kg. At $80 per kilo, this would be $160,000.

Water access

We got in before the rush … i.e. before others in our rural community wanted to grow their respective businesses with irrigation. Hence our water allocations are generous and (contrary to modern values) do not expire until 2037. Present startup businesses adjacent to this creek do not have access to it.

Water quality

Ground water: Pure. We can demonstrate this with regular and approved water quality tests. This is likely to remain so as the supply is mountain runoff and travels a relatively short distance in aquifers ( 4 km) over rural land use on the Kaikoura plains.

Water quality suitable for aquaculture

Our consultant said perfect. He was referring to both its purity and a quirk of nature. This is that water in the aquifers first runs over mountain limestone, to absorb an ideal value of carbonate hardness. This is important.

Creek water

We now live in different times. After both a comprehensive process with upstream landowners, and – as mentioned - with land rising 6 feet in the earthquake, creating a faster flow rate, I believe that the creek would now be suitable to use for aquaculture 24/7.

Other aquaculture potential

Two separate discussions …

1/. What additional species could possibly be farmed with koura? This would be grey mullet and carp.

2/. How could the business best be grown, considering the growth in tourism?

  • This could be a pond stocked with salmon, for visitors to catch. This could be done in conjunction with whitebait in a pond downstream of the salmon pond, and before discharge into the creek, which is also acting as a settling pond.
  • If this was done, surplus koura hatchlings from the hatchery could be either sold to separate markets, or locally, potentially, in a joint venture with neighbouring landowners.

Grey Mullet

Awaits seed stock supply. Low feeding costs. Oily flesh. Appeal is a smoked, value added product with an extended shelf life.

Grass and Silver Carp

Permission to farm is a process, but possible. Both have attractive growth rates. Local interest in producing a familiar fresh fish to Asian guests in local high class lodges.


Seed stock supply available is the wild (fighting) fish. They do require the cost and effort to manually feed pallets. However they present exciting potential, to offer to visitors to catch. It may also be possible to find a boutique local market.

I believe, after peer reviewed study, with our permitted water allocation, that this is possible, in a variation of a pond design, but which would also suit koura farming, if salmon farming was abandoned.

But it will require for compliance, an additional pond, being a settling pond, before returning water to the creek. But which would be ideal for farming


Several landlocked examples of schools of one particular species of whitebait, indicate that they will reproduce on a fresh water farm. Not in warm crayfish ponds but in the cooler flowing water, fed from a salmon farm. This is a case of solving a pollution problem by killing two birds with one stone. $$$


Not farming, but holding in a pond of springs connected to the creek. Develop a compliant viewing platform and add eel viewing to farm income. $$$


Popular food for British tourists who know to avoid wild cress because of its health risk. Can be grown on rafts on ponds.


Consent for 300 hens is diversified between chickens, ducks and quail. Selling “farm fresh eggs” at a value added price to AirBnB guests. A boutique outlet in town, at the gate and farmer’s markets.

Other land use

Sedimentary soil around ponds with 25 inches annual rainfall, grows grass that requires keeping tidy. For this we stock tame, cute, kune kune pigs, and pedigree goats which we have bred desirable dairy goats


Two rooms had 100% full bookings over a four-month period. $$$ ( One room was a 7.4m boat on a trailer, which is now sold.)


Developed a script for a 45 minutes tour that shows farm visitors an aquarium, hatchery, tanks, ponds with ducks, paddlewheels and koura in traps.

Developed a farm visitor centre as a holding bay so that farm tours could be conducted “on the hour.”

Advances in farming procedures on the table

The larvae stage of the Darkling Beetle, or mealworm, at the staggeringly high 60% protein, has been predicted by industry writers, to make changes to both aquaculture and poultry farm practices.

This could topple the competitive advantage that large egg producers have over us, by bulk buying feed, and mechanization. The market does like free range eggs and supporting local. The business could now become better than marginally profitable.

Culturing these larvae in commercial numbers requires warm temperatures that we have in our insulated hatchery.

My suggestion on growing the business

My perseverance of learning to farm koura has effectively also been a sideshow to aspects of the emerging tourism industry.

Tourism likes seeing environmental activities, which ours are. Tourists seek the point of difference, which is our crayfish farm. And as well, our tame pets, goats, dogs, and ducks on the ponds. Don’t laugh. Tourism has rewritten the distinction between town and country. We have had our chickens photographed. Ducks on ponds may be ordinary to some, but are extraordinary to others.

So how can we grow the business, which includes a transition in a few years, from neglible visitors, to a seemingly endless supply? By stocking our brochures with accommodation providers in town, ISite ( tourist information). And Whale Watch, whom have recommended us for their clients while their operation waits better weather.

We see backpackers, families - and visitors with disposable income. We have sold them all of our crayfish, until we only have broodstock left. They like seafood generally, and they are interested in trying ours. They want to take photos of things. Show them eels. Sell and cook for them koura, whitebait and salmon at an onsite café.

If anyone wants to know the answer to a FAQ in Kaikoura (kai=food + koura+ crayfish) what is the difference in taste between fresh water and salt water crayfish … Let them come to us.

Experience of seller and reason to sell

My name is Vince Scully. I hold a ship captain’s license and am author of Poles Apart with Northanger. These were polar sailing voyages. My wife, Mary Shanahan, wants to live aboard a yacht with me, and do more yacht voyaging. I am a lucky man. But we have to sell our farm. It has been a happy stage of life but we are moving to something else that we want to do. I will recall working around water as therapeutic.

My relevant farming experience is both kinds of fresh water aquaculture: static and flow through. We have grown koura, watercress and trialed mullet and whitebait farming.

We have visited fresh water fish farms with koura, carp, mullet, whitebait, marron (crayfish) and – frequently - salmon. We have accommodated aquaculture students for work experience, and thereby feel that we have a link with both academic updates and other forms of fish farming.

To publish a book, you have to be a good reader. My bedside reading has been anything to do with the farm. Plus – (which relates to farm maintenance) boat maintenance.

My wife and I have a teaching diploma for overseas students learning English. We have patience. I have patience, as a captain (sometimes read mother!)

I feel that I have the technical experience, the expression skills and the aptitude to handover over an understanding of this venture to an interested buyer, who will require familiarization to the activities.

We would consider a deposit to our solicitor and a delayed settlement. POA.