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Village people set up twenty four hour, road-side raw milk vending machine in Golden Bay

Submitted by on May 11, 2012 – 4:46 pm 8 Comments

Sarah and Max Soper collecting their milk.

By Charlotte Squire

Local Good News Report/Golden Bay

Read the inspiring stories of our sponsors below.

Do you buy cow’s milk? Chances are you’re one of millions in New Zealand who do. Maybe you get yours from the supermarket, or the local corner shop.  Perhaps it comes in a one or two litre plastic milk container  It’s  probably been pasteurised, homogenized and definitely processed, all in the name of hygiene, because that’s just the way it is with milk, right?

Well, no.

I’ve got news for you about Kiwi milk-culture: times they are a-chang’n.

A Golden Bay dairy farming family have set up a very snazzy road-side milk dispenser service called ‘Village Milk’ to serve their community with fresh, hygienic, raw milk any time of the day and night. The Houston family milk twenty two cows and they’re legally allowed to offer you, the discerning consumer, five litres of their milk per visit to the dispenser.

Yes, they call themselves a ’boutique dairy farm” and due to strong community demand (all thanks to good old fashioned word of mouth), the Houston Family are taking this project very seriously. In fact, they’re taking it so seriously they recently took a trip to Italy to research and invest in a state of the art milk dispenser machine that  ensures the whole process is nice and easy, is in line with Kiwi food standards, and will even give change.

Before we go on, it is worth noting that pasteurisation (as opposed to untreated, or raw milk) served a very valuable purpose back in the 1920’s. That was when tuberculosis was spreading through meat and milk, so pasteurisation was the process invented to kill any harmful bacteria. Thankfully, we’re beyond that now. Village Milk cows are TB-free and have been for decades.

These days we also know that pasteurisation, which involves heating the milk to 72 degrees, not only serves the very useful purpose of killing germs, but also kills vital ingredients such as the beneficial bacteria that’s necessary to digest lactose. Go figure. It’s said that many people who can’t tolerate pasteurised milk, can easily digest raw milk.

So after nearly a century of paranoia about milk hygiene standards, consumer demand for good old fashioned raw milk, just the way nature intended it, is beginning to swing milk production back the other way.

Aint that just way life goes?

I asked Mark Houston what inspired his family to travel this innovative path.

“We’d moved up to Golden Bay for a life-style change after thirty-five years of dairy farming in Christchurch, and we were taking things as they came.  Safe food, and good food quality had become important to us, especially with future grandchildren to think about.  We didn’t just want to rely on the food you buy in supermarkets.  We were tired of hearing about all the pesticides and preservatives and flavours that are added to our foods – and the subsequent links to ill health.

“At first we were just milking one cow, “Thirteen”, and sharing the milk with our family and friends. We knew about the benefits of real milk and our family and friends were so keen on it.

“We purchased a second-hand milking plant and dug out the pit, which had been filled in for use as a cattle yard. Our electrician was soon needed to get everything humming, and after listening to our story he asked if he could bring a billy. From there the news of our ‘new’ milk spread quickly on the grapevine, as it does here in Golden Bay.”

And the Golden Bay community are drinking raw milk from healthy, happy cows.  They’re only milked once a day, it’s all done in a very relaxed manner, and they love being milked – to the point that they can occasionally nod off.  The milk then goes through a series of pipes, and straight into the Village Milk dispenser to be chilled, and collected by an ever growing pool of customers.

Now let’s step back and examine the possibilities that Village Milk have opened up for the future. If this initiative was replicated in your community and you were able to nip down to the local raw milk dispenser with your ’empties’, it could alter the way our dairy industry functions.  This would mean we’d skip the large scale transport, energy and time we currently invest in taking milk away from its original place of production, to be processed and sent around New Zealand. This could mean we get to simply drink milk that was made in our communities or by farmers living within 100 kms of our homes.

In fact, Richard Houston, business partner and son of Mark and Phillippa Houston, says he’d like to see three more outlets emerging around New Zealand by Christmas, with many more being established under the Village Milk name over the next few years. It’s a business plan with strong roots in community, and with notable health benefits. It’s part of an emerging international trend back to simple, locally produced food.

Is Kiwi milk-culture really ‘a-chang’n’? That, my friends, depends on you.

Like and connect with Village Milk on Facebook.

Read the inspiring stories of our sponsors:


Billy Kerrisk, Ray White Real Estate New Zealand, Golden Bay branch


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Tui Balms is a worker-owned cooperative that began 27 years ago in Golden Bay with Tui Bee Balm, a remarkable healing balm made of beeswax and other natural ingredients.  An effective skin healer, Bee Balm has since become a New Zealand icon, the country’s favourite baby balm and the flagship of our popular range of natural skincare and healing balms. Our range of massage Balms with aromatherapy essential oils is the supreme medium for massage.  Tui Balms donates to charitable trusts in New Zealand. Last year, we donated over $30,000 to New Zealand charities! Find Tui Balms at your local health store or organic shop.

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HealthPost is New Zealand’s favourite online retailer of natural health supplements, proudly based in Golden Bay. Established more than 20 years ago, HealthPost is still in ‘The Bay’ because, basically,we like living here! Our rural location poses logistical challenges from time-to-time (flooded rivers and road wash-outs!) but the dedication and ingenuity of our 38-strong team always gets us through. We’re committed to balancing profits and principles, donating more than $60,000 to charity in the past two years through our ‘doing WELL’ programme. We’re passionate about the products that

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The (happy) end.




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  • Liz says:

    Mmmmmm, raw milk. It’s so delicious. I started drinking it recently when I discovered a local farmer from Levin who supplies this goodly product. You purchase it online, then he drops it off at specific places along SH1. Good to see the practice spreading throughout NZ. Once you’ve tasted raw milk, you’ll never go back to the insipid supermarket stuff.

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  • I love this idea! Please bring it to Tauranga! I am currently able to get raw milk in Tauranga but its at about twice the cost of standard milk in the supermarket. The cost is worth it and I drink about 4 liters per week just by myself. Im 34 and have never been healthier. In fact just switching to raw milk and cutting bread out of my diet has helped me loose about 15 pounds in the last 6 months with out really increasing my activity level. I am more alert and more fun to be around. My skin and hair have improved as well.

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  • Tanya says:

    I love raw milk! my daughter who was intolerant to all milk can tolerate raw milk – she has gained weight and is so much healthier – in fact since I have been drinking it, I have had no illnesses, colds, flu in the past 3 yrs, since drinking it and eating kefir yogurt. – This milk idea is awesome, why have milk taken away to be processed and distributed? makes more sense for it to be provided by a farm in the community and raw of course!

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  • Mike says:

    Absolutely love what these guys are doing!
    Awesome innovation which seems to be spreading nicely. Let’s keep spreading the word and hope this becomes more and more common!
    Out with processed milk!

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  • richard says:

    Interested – we milk 90 cows 10 mins from Pukekohe please email

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  • Richard says:

    Hey Richard,

    We would love to talk to you about your interest. Could you please visit our website and register your interest. We are also exhibiting at the Fieldays next week and would bee keen to catch up if your there. site EX6.


    Richard Houston

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  • Nan Hoggard says:

    Just love your website. A great idea, and may it rush through NZ like a bush fire. Best of luck, and love to all. Nan

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  • Catherine says:

    Hi Richard, I’m very interested in a raw milk supplier, there are a few of us in Waiuku that would LOVE a steady supply! Please email me catherinecrispe@yahoo.co.nz

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