He returned to Nelson two and a half years ago to join the family business, Sangster Contracting. His father started the haymaking and bailage business almost 30 years ago with one tractor, today they have five. “It’s a big operation” says Brian, “we try to be the biggest supplier”.
Brian isn’t the only one working in the family business. His mother works in the office and “keeps us all going” says Brian. His brother Daniel also drives the tractors.
While his parents were keen for Brian to join the family business straight out of school like his brother Daniel, Brian had other ideas. He traded the country for city life in Christchurch to work for seven years as a mechanic, dealing with high end sport and luxury vehicles such as Masaratis and Alpha Romeos.
But the lure of the lifestyle eventually drew him back to Nelson, and he couldn’t be happier. “There is nothing like being out in the open and doing what you enjoy” says Brian, “it’s better than being stuck in a workshop working on smelly cars”.
Seasonal work isn’t easy though. Currently, it’s the busy season and Brian is working long hours, seven days a week. “Farmers don’t get to have time off, so we need to work to to keep them going”.
Brian says that he doesn’t mind the seasonal aspect of the work. In the summer he takes every chance he gets to get out and go fishing for snapper in Tasman Bay. But in the winter, he has a lot more time for it. “It’s a great way to relax and unwind”, he says.
This season it’s going dry quickly, so Sangster Contracting are cutting hay to order. However Sangster Contracting can store up to 2000 hay bails to meet farmers needs, and Brian’s currently got 800 medium square bails in storage for the winter season.
While farmers may be Brian’s biggest customers, they aren’t the only ones. Brian has recently sent hay up for testing to the Wellington Zoo, and is waiting to hear back on whether they will be supplying there too.
It’s clear that Brian really takes pride in the work he does, which is why he probably enjoys it so much. “We visit peoples’ farms and try to do the best job possible” says Brian. “When you leave a good product, it’s a good feeling.