FARMING families flocked together from all over New Zealand to celebrate rural history and the future earlier this month.

The New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards attracted 40 farmers with rich rural histories from as far south as Invercargill, all the way up to Auckland, to preserve and celebrate a century and sesquicentennial (150 years) of farming.

The annual awards were postponed last year due to Covid-19 interruptions, but this year 36 families were honoured with century plaques and four with sesquicentennial plaques.

Families received plaques in honour of their ‘‘commitment and passion towards their land for over 100 years,’’ awards chairman Eddie Fitzgerald said.

‘‘The historical records we are celebrating tonight are extremely defining for the past, present and future, and we make sure to preserve these records in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington for future generations to pursue.’’

The leadup to the awards presented families with a welcome function and the opportunity to explore the Lawrence community, goldmining history within the township and a tour of farms around the Clutha district.

Families had the chance to say a few words while accepting their plaque, to which many thanked the Century Farms committee for organising a memorable night for rural families.

The Smollett family of Balclutha were one local family celebrated on the night.

Farm owner Blair Smollett acknowledged both his father Alan and his uncle Russell during his speech, who had died before they could accept the award with the rest of their family.

The Frame family from Roxburgh attended with grandfather Bill (91) , who took to the stage to accept the award. His children said during their speech they were ‘‘grateful’’ for their role model on and off the farm to be by their side accepting the award plaque, and to their late mother Gwenda who was ‘‘there in spirit’’.

Patron of the event Ann Brown, who took over from her late husband Russell, said the awards night was ‘‘a fellowship of the people who feed and clothe the nation’’.

‘‘Farming families are a circle of love and provide so much for others.’’